Penn State Wrestling kicks off new year with two new 2023 commits
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Penn State Wrestling kicks off new year with two new 2023 commits

Penn State Wrestling received two presents from Michigan over the holiday season, which should make Nittany Lion fans very happy. Braeden Davis (Dundee, MI) and Josh Barr (Davison, MI) both announced their commitments to the Penn State wrestling program over recent weeks.

Braeden Davis was the first to make his commitment, announcing his decision just before Christmas. Davis’ announcement came as a major surprise, as he listed his top five schools back in October, which did not include Penn State. Davis originally had his list narrowed down to Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State.

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Davis is a battle-tested lightweight, who has competed in some of the top events high school wrestling has to offer. Davis is a two-time MHSAA State Champion, winning the title at 103-lbs his freshman year, and 112-lbs his sophomore year. Davis followed up his second state title with a 2021 junior Freestyle national title at Fargo. To add to his hot streak throughout the 2020 – 21 seasons, Davis dominated the highly-touted freshman, Leo DeLuca of Blair Academy, at Flowrestling’s “Who’s Number One”.

The commitment from Davis does not just add another talented wrestler to the 2023 recruiting class, it fills a major need for the Nittany Lions. As fans have seen, 125-lbs has been a hole in the lineup, although that will hopefully be filled with the addition of Drew Hildebrandt.

Despite Hildebrandt’s arrival, the All-American transfer is in his final year, and he will only be a temporary fix. In addition, the defending 133-lb National Champion, Roman Bravo-Young, announced this will be his last season competing in college wrestling.

With Davis’ commitment, along with already having Robert Howard and Gary Steen on the roster, the long-term future looks bright for Penn State in the bottom of their lineup.

Davis is ranked 4th at 120-lbs and sits at No. 36 on Flowrestling’s class of 2023 Big Board.

Davis was not the only Michigan native to make a splash in Happy Valley. Shortly after the New Year, Penn State received a verbal commitment from Josh Barr, a 170-lb junior from Davison, Michigan.

Barr’s high school career has almost mirrored Davis’. Like Davis, Barr also has two Michigan state titles, winning gold at 152-lbs as a freshman and 160-lbs as a sophomore. Barr then went on to win the 160-lb Freestyle national title at Fargo, and took 3rd at the Cadet World Team Trials earlier this year. Barr competed at FloWrestling’s “Who’s Number One”, as well, dropping a 4 – 1 decision to 2023 Penn State commit, Levi Haines.

Davis will reunite with former high school teammate and current Penn State wrestler, Alex Facundo, who is a redshirt freshman with the Nittany Lions. Facundo was a four-time state champion for Davison while in high school.

If head coach Cael Sanderson can find a way to get Facundo, Haines, and Barr all in the lineup in the future, this will make for a dangerous top-half of the lineup. Of course, there is still some time before that could ever take place.

Barr is currently ranked 7th in the nation at 170-lbs, and is ranked 10th on FloWrestling’s 2023 Big Board. He is a projected to 174/184 with Penn State.

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