COLUMBIA — Missouri announced the addition of four new wrestlers to its 2014 class on Monday.
The four high school standouts —Tim Miklus (Indianola, Iowa), Wood Mancuso (Morehead City, N.C.), Nick Nasenbeny (Plainfield, Ill.) and Chase Brennan (Monett) — supplement a recruiting class that already brings four state championships and other national accolades.
Missouri freshman and national champion J'den Cox and junior Drake Houdashelt, who ranked No. 1 among the nation's 149-pounders all season, established a championship pedigree within the team.
But coach Brian Smith said he approached recruiting the same as he has in the past.
"If you look at the trend of the country, the best kids, the top 50 to 100 kids ranked overall, are committing to schools and signing with schools early," Smith said. "So, in the early process we're trying to get those kids. We're battling for those kids.
"And then later, you're trying to find needs, weight classes you may possibly need and just good quality kids that fill your room."
Brennan is a three-time high school state champion. His overall record at Monett was 188-13.
Mancuso was coached by Smith's cousin, Dan Varner, at West Carteret High School. He won a state title this year in the 195-pound weight class.
The 197-pound Cox embodies automatic competition for Mancuso in a practice room that has already displayed extreme competitiveness and desire this spring.
"The guys have verbally spoken about winning a national title," Smith said. "They aren't afraid to say it."
Smith believes the new recruits will add fuel to the Tigers in their quest toward a national championship. More than that, though, something else about them stands out as special to Smith.
"They want to be at Missouri," Smith said. "I know that. The important thing to us is that they really want to be here.
"In some cases, if a kid is a step off but really wants to be here, I'd rather have that kid because they're gonna be a little more passionate about it. They're gonna care more, and they're gonna give you more."
Supervising editor is Mark Selig.