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August 1, 2013

WRESTLING: Nickal talks Penn State

Penn State was already en route to securing the nation's top recruiting class for the 2014 cycle. Now the wrestling team has all but etched it into stone.

On Wednesday night, Bo Nickal of Allen, Texas, announced on Twitter that he had verbally committed to Penn State, becoming the fourth top 15 recruit to join the Nittany Lions' Class of 2014. Since July 1, Penn State has secured verbal commitments from No. 1 Chance Marsteller (York, Pa - 165), No. 5 Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif. - 285) and No. 15 Jason Nolf (Kittanning, Pa. - 141/149).

Nickal, who is the No. 8 overall recruit, per IntermatWrestle.com and FloWrestling.com's No. 2 170-pounder in the country, is the latest in a line of blue-chippers, and he's fully aware of the talent that will be joining him in State College.

"It sounds like it's going to be a killer class," Nickal told BWI on Thursday. "I can't wait to see what the future brings with that class. Hopefully we pick up a few more NCAA championships for Penn State."

Nickal is no stranger to championships. Boasting a 140-7 career high school record, he is a two-time Texas state champ and a three-time finalist. He also recently won a championship at the FILA Cadet Nationals (freestyle) and he will compete for a world FILA title in Serbia Aug. 20-25.

Though he's the defending 160-pound state champion for Allen High, Nickal projects himself as a 174-pounder for the Nittany Lions, who could grow into a 184-pounder or larger.

"I'll probably come in and start at 74 and see how much I grow," said Nickal, who stands 6-foot-1. "I feel like I have a lot of range as far as my weight class goes. I could end up anywhere from 74 to 97. It just depends on how much muscle I put on once I get into a college weight room."

Prior to selecting the Nittany Lions, Nickal was seriously considering Oklahoma, but he also said that he had strong interest in Michigan, Ohio State and Oklahoma State.

But Penn State's recent winning streak, coaching reputation and a little help from one of the most well known Nittany Lions - David Taylor - helped put Penn State in the lead.

"I made it up there to State College [in May] and I really liked it," he said. "It was all over from there.

"It was pretty cool of [Taylor] showing us around. It's not everyday that you walk around and get to hang out with one of the best collegiate wrestlers in the country. So that was a good experience and I really liked that."

Nickal is well aware of Taylor's success at Penn State, not only as an individual but of his contributions toward Penn State's three consecutive team titles. As Taylor enters his final year of eligibility, Nickal hopes he and his fellow members of the Class of 2014 continue the dominance.

"There's schools out there like Oklahoma State and Iowa that have won 20 or 30 national championships, but I feel like right now its time for Penn State to go on a little run," he said. "I'm super excited to continue the tradition that those guys have started - David Taylor, back to Frank Molinaro, Quentin Wright and Ed Ruth. I'm excited to continue that. I'm up for the challenge. It's going to be good, a lot of fun."

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