Huskers Announce 2018 Signing Class
Head Coach Mark Manning announced the 2018 Nebraska wrestling signing class on Friday. NU has added eight wrestling student-athletes in the April signing period, including two transfers. NU also had three student-athletes sign National Letters of Intent in the November signing period.
Austin Emerson (Temperance, Mich./Bedford), Anthony Gaona (Overland Park, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas), Jordan Kelber (Valentine, Neb./Valentine), Josh Mason (Schuylkill Haven, Pa./Blue Mountain), Jevon Parrish (Olathe, Kan./Olathe North), Peyton Robb (Owatonna, Minn./Owatonna) and Brandyn Van Tassell (Spanish Fork, Utah/Maple Mountain) will join the Nebraska program, while transfers Zeke Moisey (Northampton, Pa./Bethlehem Catholic/West Virginia) and Christian Lance (Nixa, Mo./Nixa/Fort Hays State) have also been added to the signing class.
Brock Hardy (Brigham City, Utah/Box Elder), Jake Silverstein (Smithtown, N.Y./Hauppauge) and Alex Thomsen (Neola, Iowa/Underwood) signed NLIs during the November signing period. Emerson, Gaona, Mason, Kelber, Lance, Moisey, Parish, Robb, Silverstein and Thomsen are set to join the Husker program next season, while both Hardy and Van Tassell will join the Huskers in 2020 after two-year Mormon missions.
“We feel we’ve added a lot of good talent and high-character men to our spring signing period,” Manning said. “These wrestlers will be vital to the future of our program, and they come to Nebraska not only as great wrestlers but also as great students and great people. Each one of these wrestlers really add to the culture that’s already been established here at Nebraska.”
The class was ranked fifth in the country by FloWrestling, as one of just four teams in the nation with three top-31 pound-for-pound recruits. NU's 2018 class was also ranked fifth by InterMat, with three top-35 recruits.
2018 Signing Class Bios (Listed Alphabetically)
Senior Season Weight Class: HWT
Austin Emerson joins the Huskers as a two-time state finalist and a state champion with a 144-22 record wrestling for Bedford High School in Temperance, Mich. Emerson ended his high school career with his first state title, as he captured the MHSAA Division 1 crown at 285 pounds to finish off a 48-3 senior season in 2018. He took second at the heavyweight division as a junior in 2017 after going 49-2 on the year. Emerson posted a record of 31-5 as a sophomore in 2016 and 16-12 as a freshman in 2015, both at 215 pounds. He is the sixth-ranked heavyweight in the Class of 2018, according to FloWrestling. InterMat ranked Emerson as the No. 11 wrestler at 285 pounds in the Class of 2018. A double Junior All-American, Emerson took fourth in Greco-Roman and fifth in freestyle at the 2017 USMC/USAW Junior Nationals in Fargo, N.D. He was a state champion in both freestyle and Greco-Roman at 285 pounds at the 2017 Michigan USA Wrestling State Finals. Emerson was also a double Cadet All-American in 2016, as he placed third in Greco-Roman and fifth in freestyle at 285 pounds at the 2016 USAW Cadet Nationals in Fargo. He was a Cadet state champion in both freestyle and Greco-Roman in 2015. Emerson also played football in high school.
Brigham City, Utah
Box Elder HS
Senior Season Weight Class: 145
Brock Hardy is a four-time state champion with a 174-3 overall record from Box Elder High School in Brigham City, Utah. Hardy capped his high school career with the 2018 UHSAA 5A state championship at 145 pounds after a 46-0 senior season, as he became the 20th four-time state champion in Utah history. He won the 2017 4A state championship at 152 pounds following an undefeated 47-0 season as a junior. In 2016, Hardy captured the 4A state title at 145 pounds to cap a 39-2 season. As a freshman, he won the 4A state championship at 132 pounds after going 42-1 on the year. Hardy won the 145-pound bracket at the 2018 USA Wrestling Junior Folkstyle Nationals. Hardy is also experienced in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, as he won the USA Wrestling Fargo Cadet Freestyle National title at 138 pounds in 2016, while earning a silver medal in Greco-Roman in that same year. In 2017, Hardy took third at 145 pounds at Greco-Roman junior nationals, and placed seventh in the loaded 145-pound bracket at the Freestyle Nationals meet. Hardy is the 14th-ranked pound-for-pound wrestler and the second-ranked wrestler at 145 pounds in FloWrestling’s high school rankings, as well and the fourth-ranked wrestler at 149 pounds in the FloWrestling NCAA Prospect Rankings. He is the third-ranked 145-pounder in the Class of 2018 by InterMat. He also participated in the prestigious Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic, as he was a member of the United States All-Star Team. Hardy plans to join the Huskers in 2020 following a two-year Mormon mission in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Overland Park, Kan.
St. Thomas Aquinas HS
Senior Season Weight Class: 195
Anthony Gaona (pronounced GA-oh-NA) joins the Nebraska program after wrestling at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, Kan. Gaona was a three-time qualifier for St. Thomas Aquinas with a 147-36 record. He capped a 40-2 senior season with a third-place finish at 195 pounds at the KSHSAA 5A State Championships. He finished fourth at state at 195 pounds in 2017, and sixth at 195 pounds in 2016. In 2017, Gaona was a state champion in freestyle and Greco-Roman at the USA Wrestling Kansas State Championships at 220 pounds. He also placed fifth at USAW Folkstyle Junior Nationals at 220 pounds in 2017. Gaona took sixth place at 182 pounds at the 2015 Cadet Folkstyle National Championships. He also played football in high school, and was a two-time honorable-mention all-league selection.
Senior Season Weight Class: 132
Jordan Kelber joins the Husker program after a prep career as a three-time Nebraska state champion with a 149-12 record at Valentine High School in Valentine, Neb. Kelber is the son of Nebraska national champion wrestler and former NU Assistant Coach Jason Kelber, who won the 126-pound NCAA title in 1991 and was a three-time All-American. Kelber capped his prep career with the NSAA Class C state title at 132 pounds in 2018 to finish off a 40-1 record, as he helped his team to its second-consecutive state title. He also helped his team to a state title as a junior in 2017, as he won the Class C title at 126 pounds to cap an undefeated 40-0 season. He won his first state title as a freshman in 2015 as he went 33-6 at 106 pounds. Kelber took third at state at 113 pounds as a sophomore in 2016 after going 36-5 on the season. He finished third overall at 132 pounds at the Nebraska State Freestyle Championships.
Nixa HS/Fort Hays State
Weight Class: HWT
Christian Lance joins the Nebraska wrestling program after spending three seasons at Fort Hays State in Hays, Kan. Lance went 54-14 over two seasons, and qualified for the NCAA Division II Championships in 2017. Lance won a total of five open tournament titles while wrestling at FHSU. In 2017-18, Lance won the Northern Colorado Open, and he won titles at the OCU Open, Northern Colorado Open and UNK Holiday Open in 2016-17. He won the Luther College Open as a redshirt in 2015-16. Lance placed fourth at Iowa State’s Harold Nichols Cyclone Open as a sophomore and a redshirt. Lance wrestled at Nixa High School, where he was the state champion as a senior at 220 pounds and took fifth as a junior at 182 pounds. He finished his senior year with a record of 56-1. He took seventh at 220 pounds at the 2015 USAW Folkstyle Nationals in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Schuylkill Haven, Pa.
Blue Mountain HS
Senior Season Weight Class: 132
Josh Mason joins the Huskers after wrestling at Blue Mountain High School in Schuylkill Haven, Pa. He went a combined 118-22 in his four years at Blue Mountain. He went 33-4 at 132 pounds as a senior in 2018, finishing first in his district and sixth in his region. He qualified for the PIAA Class AAA state tournament as a junior at 126 pounds in 2017 after going 40-8 on the season and placing fourth in his district and second in his region. He went a combined 45-10 in his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Bethlehem Catholic HS/West Virginia
Weight Class: 125
Two-time All-American and 2015 NCAA runner-up Zeke Moisey will join the Nebraska wrestling program as a transfer. He is expected to graduate from West Virginia this August with a bachelor's degree in multidisciplinary studies. He has a career record of 84-37 in three seasons competing for the Mountaineers, qualifying for the NCAA Championships in each of his three years in the lineup. He took a medical redshirt in 2016-17 and did not compete that season. Moisey earned his second All-America honor in March, as he finished eighth at 125 pounds at the 2018 NCAA Championships. He went 26-11 on the season, including 9-3 in duals, with five pins, three technical falls and two major decisions. He placed second at the 2018 Big 12 Championships. He qualified for the 2016 NCAA Championships, but was forced to withdraw due to injury. He posted a 26-11 record on the year, and participated in the 2015 NWCA All-Star Classic prior to the season. Moisey broke through on the national stage as a freshman in 2014-15, as he was the NCAA runner-up at 125 pounds at the 2015 NCAA Championships. Unseeded entering the tournament, Moisey knocked off four seeded wrestlers, including a decision over second-seeded Nahshon Garrett of Cornell in the second round and a pin over sixth-seeded Thomas Gilman of Iowa in the semifinals. He was the first unseeded wrestler to make the NCAA finals since 2003, and he became WVU's first All-American since 2007. He finished the season with a 32-14 record overall, including 16 wins by bonus points. He was also the runner-up at the Big 12 Championships in 2015. Moisey prepped at wrestling powerhouse Bethlehem Catholic High School in Bethlehem, Pa. He won the 2014 PIAA Class AA state title at 126 pounds, and he finished in the top five at the state tournament in all four seasons.
Olathe North HS
Senior Season Weight Class: 138
Jevon Parrish is a two-time Kansas state champion who competed at Olathe North High School in Olathe, Kan. Parrish ended his career with a 173-21, winning state titles in his junior and senior seasons. He went 52-2 as a senior in 2018, and won the KSHSAA 6A title at 138 pounds, helping Olathe North to the team title. Parrish captured the 2017 6A crown at 126 pounds as a junior to cap a 35-1 season. In 2016, he took third at state at 113 pounds following a 47-6 season as a sophomore, and took fourth as a freshman at 106 pounds in 2015. Parrish took seventh place at 126 pounds at the 2017 Junior Greco-Roman Nationals in Fargo, N.D. He finished second at 58 kg at the 2017 UWW Cadet Greco-Roman Nationals in Akron, Ohio. Parrish also played football in high school.
Senior Season Weight Class: 160
Three-time Minnesota state champion Peyton Robb joins the Huskers after going 155-6 at Owatonna High School in Owatonna, Minn., and becoming his school’s first three-time state champion. Robb capped his prep career with an undefeated 48-0 season and the MSHSL Class AAA title at 160 pounds as a senior in 2018. He won the Class AAA title at 120 pounds after going 29-3 as a sophomore in 2016. Robb won his first state title as a freshman in 2015, as he went 42-2 and won the Class AAA title at 106 pounds. He also finished second at state as a junior in 2017 as he went 36-1 at 145 pounds. Robb is the second-ranked 160-pounder and the No. 26 pound-for-pound wrestler in the nation according to InterMat. FloWrestling rated Robb as the seventh-ranked wrestler at 160 pounds in the Class of 2018. Robb finished third at 69 kg at the 2017 UWW Cadet Greco-Roman Nationals, and third at 160 pounds at the 2017 USMC/USAW Junior Freestyle Nationals in Fargo, N.D. Robb also took third at 69 kg at the 2017 UWW Cadet Greco-Roman Nationals. He was the 2017 Minnesota junior state freestyle and Greco-Roman champion in 2017 at 160 pounds. Robb won both the Greco-Roman and freestyle brackets at 69 kg at the 2017 Pan-American Championships. He finished fifth at both the 2016 USAW Cadet Freestyle and Greco-Roman Nationals at 126 pounds. Robb was the runner-up at 113 pounds at the 2015 USAW Cadet Greco-Roman Nationals.
Senior Season Weight Class: 160
New York State Champion Jake Silverstein joins the Huskers after competing for Hauppauge High School in Hauppauge, N.Y. Silverstein went a combined 79-4 during his junior and senior seasons, and was a three-time state finalist and four-time state qualifier. He wrapped up his prep career with the NYSPHSAA Division I state championship at 160 pounds to cap a 39-2 season as a senior in 2018. Silverstein went 40-2 as a junior in 2017 and finished second at 138 pounds. He also finished second at state at 106 pounds as a freshman in 2015. He is the 20th-ranked 160-pounder in the Class of 2018 according to FloWrestling. Silverstein placed sixth at 145 pounds at the 2017 Super 32 tournament, and took seventh at 138 pounds in 2016. He was a member of Team Kong United, which won the 2016 and 2017 NHSCA National Duals. Silverstein won the 2016 USAW New York cadet freestyle championship at 145 pounds.
Senior Season Weight Class: 126
One of the most accomplished high school wrestlers in Iowa history, Alex Thomsen joins the Husker program after winning four state championships at Underwood High School in Underwood, Iowa. Thomsen became the 27th four-time state champion in Iowa high school history in 2018, and he finished his career with a 190-1 record overall. Thomsen capped his prep career with the IHSAA Class 1A state title at 126 pounds to finish off a 51-1 season. He went 45-0 as a junior in 2017 and won the Class 1A state title at 126 pounds. He reached the 50-win mark as a sophomore, going 50-0 en route to the 1A state title at 126 pounds. He won his first state title as a freshman, as he went 44-0 and captured the Class 1A title at 113 pounds. Thomsen’s coach at Underwood was Joe Stephens, who lettered for Nebraska three times from 1992 to 1995. He was the sixth-ranked 126-pounder by InterMat, while FloWrestling rated Thomsen as the seventh-best 126 pounder in the nation in the Class of 2018. Thomsen won the title at 126 pounds at the 2017 Greco-Roman Junior Nationals. He was third in the challenge tournament at 55 kg at the 2017 Junior Freestyle World Team Trials at the Devaney Center in Lincoln. Thomsen took fifth at 126 pounds at the 2017 Freestyle Junior Nationals, and also finished fifth at 126 pounds at the 2016 Super 32 tournament.
Brandyn Van Tassell
Spanish Fork, Utah
Maple Mountain HS
Senior Season Weight Class: 182
Brandyn Van Tassell is a two-time Utah state champion with a career record of 195-38 at Maple Mountain High School in Spanish Fork, Utah. Van Tassell capped his prep career with the UHSAA 5A state championship at 182 pounds as a senior in 2018 after going 57-2 on the year. He won his first state title in 2017, as he went 48-8 and claimed the 4A state title at 170 pounds. Van Tassell placed second at state at 152 pounds after going 40-12 as a sophomore in 2016, and he finished third at 132 pounds after a 50-16 freshman campaign in 2015. He placed fourth at the 2018 USAW Junior Folkstyle Nationals at 182 pounds, after placing fifth at the same tournament at 170 pounds in 2017. He was an academic all-state selection in 2018. Van Tassell plans to join the Huskers in 2020 following a two-year Mormon mission.