Old Dominion Wrestling Signs Five In Early Recruiting Class

November 19, 2008
By ODU Athletics

Nov. 19, 2008

NORFOLK, Va. - Old Dominion University wrestling coach Steve Martin announced the signing of five recruits to national letters of intent this week. Jack Burbank (Virginia Beach, Va.), Eric Dunnet (Voorhees, N.J.), Justin LaValle (Burnsville, Minn.), John Nicholson (Des Moines, Iowa), and Joey Sheridan (Tulsa, Okla.) all signed National Letters of Intent to attend ODU in the fall of 2009.

Jack Burbank is a standout from right here in the Hampton Roads area as he heads into his final season at Cox High School in Virginia Beach. He ranks as high as 13th in the nation and will come in to wrestle in the 285-lb weight class. He placed 6th at the VHSL Championship in 2007 and earned the State Champion crown in 2008. He was also named Beast of the East place winner in 2007.

MARTIN ON BURBANK: "We're excited to get a local kid as talented as Burbank. We think he has the potential to do great things. He is a big, tall kid, standing at 6-4, so it should be an easy transition into college wrestling from high school."

Eric Dunnet is from Eastern Regional HS in New Jersey and ranks 9th in the nation. He finished 6th in the state his freshman year and was 2nd at sophomore nationals. He also placed 5th at Junior Freestyle Nationals and 6th at Fargo. He is a three-time state placewinner.

MARTIN ON DUNNET: "Dunnet is a very scrappy wrestler from New Jersey. He has a strong work ethic and desire. We look forward to helping him develop his technique and help him get on the podium"

Justin LaValle arrives from Minnesota as the 5th ranked wrestler in the nation by two publications. He was named to the 2008 National Duals Greco "All Team" and is the 2008-2009 Apple Valley HS Team Captain. Apple Valley HS is currently ranked 3rd in the Nation for High School Wrestling and he has compiled a 141-30 record from for the Eagles. He is ranked #1 in the state of Minnesota in the 130 lb weight class and will wrestle 133 at ODU.

MARTIN ON LaVALLE: "LaValle is from national powerhouse Apple Valley HS and was recruited heavily by Minnesota and Nebraska. He's already proven himself on a national level; he is very good on the mat, especially from the top position."

John Nicholson is the younger brother of current ODU Wrestler James Nicholson from Des Moines, Iowa. John ranks as high as 7th in the nation coming in. Nicholson won the Class 3-A 152-pound state championship for Roosevelt HS as a junior in 2008 after placing third in that same competition his sophomore year. He takes a 139-14 record into his senior season and will join his brother at Old Dominion as a wrestler in the 157 lb weight class.

MARTIN ON NICHOLSON: "John Nicholson wrestles the old school Iowa style of wrestling, constantly coming at you. He's really going to be fun for our fans to watch. He was recruited heavily by Iowa and Missouri with his final choice coming down to us & Iowa. He chose ODU in part because of his brother James."

Joey Sheridan joins the Monarchs from Tulsa, Oklahoma where he is a two-time Oklahoma state champion in the 160-lb weight class. Coming to ODU from Tulsa Union HS, Sheridan is ranked as high as 8th in the nation. He was the Cadet National Freestyle Champion in 2006 and is a Reno Tournament of Champions place winner. Sheridan will wrestle at the 174 lb weight class for ODU.

MARTIN ON SHERIDAN: "Sheridan has been nationally ranked his whole life. It is very difficult to land a good big guy and he is one of the top three wrestlers coming out of Oklahoma this year. We competed head on with Oklahoma State, Nebraska, and Missouri for this athlete and we're pleased to get him because it is very hard to get an Oklahoma kid to leave Oklahoma."

The recruits will join an experienced class of grapplers that will lose just one to graduation this year. The team went 17-3 in 2007-08 and has placed ten in two tournaments to start the 2008-09 campaign.

"We had specific recruiting needs at several weight classes. Our staff did a great job of getting five nationally ranked wrestlers at five different weight classes," said Martin. "We were able to lure these athletes away from Big Ten and Big 12 schools because of one common theme: they all want to be a part of the building process of a team that will beat the Oklahoma State's and Iowa's of the world. In addition, each of these student-athletes have high standards in the classroom and off the mat. This recruiting class will be highly ranked."

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