The Iowa wrestling program’s 2023 recruiting class was already among the best in the country, with commitments from Nate Jesuroga, Ben Kueter, Gabe Arnold, and Ryder Block, all top-50 prospects.
On Monday night, the Hawkeyes’ 2023 haul got even better. Cody Chittum, one of the nation’s top pound-for-pound high-schoolers, informed Hawk Central that he, too, has committed to the Iowa wrestling program.
“It’s official,” Chittum said in a phone conversation with Hawk Central. “I’m ready to be a Hawkeye.”
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Chittum was ranked as the No. 2 pound-for-pound wrestler in MatScouts’ national rankings at the end of the 2021-22 season. He is currently the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2023 class, according to FloWrestling. He projects at 149/157 pounds collegiately.
Last week, Chittum won a Junior freestyle national title at 152 pounds, going 7-0 with six wins by technical fall. He outscored his opponents 85-12 en route to first. He then took third in the Junior Greco-Roman national tournament at 160 pounds in the same week.
In June, he took fourth at the U20 men’s freestyle world team trials. In December, he won gold at the Junior Pan-American Games in Colombia. In October, he won the Super 32 Challenge, one of the nation’s most prestigious high school wrestling events.
His commitment now gives the Hawkeyes five top-50 prospects for their 2023 class. The others: Jesuroga, another Junior national champ who’s No. 5 by Flo; Arnold, a 16U national champ last year who’s No. 6; Kueter, a U20 men’s freestyle world team member who’s No. 9; and Block, another Junior national champ who’s No. 41.
Chittum, a native of Tennessee, said he will move to Iowa City within the next month, but will spend the next year training with the Hawkeye Wrestling Club. He will be eligible to compete at various open tournaments and other competitions, but won’t officially join the Iowa program until the 2023-24 season, along with Jesuroga, Kueter, Arnold, and Block.
Chittum had originally committed to Minnesota in June 2021. But this past summer, he quietly re-opened his recruitment, taking visits to Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Minnesota, and, of course, Iowa.
“My family and I decided that, before I truly signed, let’s take some visits and really make sure we picked the right school,” Chittum said.
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The Hawkeyes ultimately closed the deal. Chittum visited Iowa City in mid-May, and said he was sold on the program’s culture, coaching staff, and his future teammates.
“It felt like home there,” Chittum said. “I love how (the coaches) are super intense and I love all the teammates there, too. I was really happy being around those guys and had a good connection with everybody at Iowa.
“Being around them, it really opened my eyes, and I just felt like it was my new home.”
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.