Pennsylvania star Kolby Franklin joins Iowa Hawkeye wrestling program


The Iowa wrestling program ended October with a huge recruiting victory – from a top perspective on Penn State territory.

Kolby Franklin, a senior at Wyoming Seminary, has made a commitment to the Hawkeyes. He chose Iowa over Penn State and Arizona State and drafts at 197 pounds.

“It was the people, the atmosphere in the room, the way the people acted, the way my personality matches a lot of the guys on the team,” Franklin said. “When I was there I felt good.”

Franklin, from Dubois, Pa., Is considered one of the country’s top big man prospects. He is considered the 37th overall rookie in the 2022 class, according to MatScouts, and is currently ranked fifth in the country at 195 pounds.

His curriculum vitae is full of high level accomplishments. In October, Franklin took third place in the Super 32 Challenge, which is considered the toughest high school wrestling tournament in the country. Last summer he was fourth at the National Junior Men’s Freestyle Championships.

As a freshman in 2019, Franklin competed in the Pennsylvania State Final for Saint Josephs Catholic Academy and then won a 16U Men’s National Freestyle Title later that summer. Before his sophomore year, he transferred to Wyoming Seminary, an independent day school and boarding school that offers one of the best wrestling programs in the country.

Franklin is now the ninth member of Iowa’s 2022 recruiting class, which now includes five of the top 200 rookies, according to MatScouts’ latest 2022 Big Board. In addition to Franklin:

The other four are all state wrestlers: Carter and Carson Martinson, of Southeast Polk; Jace Rhodes, from Mason City; and Easton Fleshman, west of Lyon.

But Franklin’s engagement is intriguing. He grew up just an hour from Penn State, which has been Iowa’s main wrestling opponent since Cael Sanderson took over the program ahead of the 2009-10 season. More so, he is frequently trained at David Taylor’s M2 Training Center, located just north of State College.

“I grew up very, very close to Penn State,” Franklin said, “and I even trained at Penn State and had a great relationship with these coaches. It’s kinda crazy to think that I’m going to be in Iowa now. “

Much of Iowa’s recent success – the Hawkeyes won the 2020 and 2021 Big Ten Championships as well as the 2021 NCAA Championships – is due in large part to wrestlers from Pennsylvania, like Spencer Lee, Michael Kemerer, Kaleb Young, Austin. DeSanto and Max Murin.

Franklin said the relationships he forged with the Iowa coaching staff and current wrestlers made a difference for him. He was in Iowa City a few weeks ago when the Hawkeye football team beat Penn State at Kinnick Stadium, and was back this weekend to formalize his engagement.

“I just love how dedicated they are to their wrestlers and how much they want to help them be successful,” Franklin said. “They worry about how they can help you reach your full potential and how they can help you achieve your goals. I can say that just by watching them practice and meeting them.

“It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but it’s really simple for me. It’s not a crazy difference between other schools. It just feels right to me and I know that I can achieve my goals there. “

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.

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