The re-launched Fresno State wrestling program has landed its first high school commitment.
And, he’s local, as Bulldogs coach Troy Steiner vowed to recruit.
Dinuba High senior Jacob Wright said he made an oral commitment Wednesday to become a Bulldog following a home visit and scholarship offer from Steiner, the former four-time All-American at Iowa who was hired as Fresno State’s coach in May.
“Coach Steiner felt Jacob was a kid he could build around to start things off,” said Dinuba coach Michael Wright, Jacob’s father. “He likes the way Jacob wrestles, that he’s a competitor. Obviously, he’s local, so that helps. It’s a good thing all the way around, not just for Jacob, but for the (local) wrestling community, too. It’s showing (Steiner) is not just going to go out and get out-of-state kids, or not just Clovis kids. If there’s a good kid out there, (Steiner) is going to go get him, no matter what school he’s from. It shows if you put the work in, it will get recognized.”
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If there’s a good kid out there, (Bulldogs wrestling coach Troy Steiner) is going to go get him, no matter what school he’s from.
Dinuba wrestling coach Michael Wright on his son, Jacob, giving an oral commitment to Fresno State
Wright is expected to sign a National Letter of Intent in November and be a part of the 22-man roster when Fresno State starts competing in the 2017-18 season. The Bulldogs program has been dormant since 2006, when former athletic director Thomas Boeh cut wrestling because of budgetary and Title IX pressures.
“I think the whole Valley is excited about Fresno State having wrestling again,” Jacob Wright said. “And when we heard Troy was coming to be the coach, it was even more exciting. Then after meeting him, I get the vibe that he’s going to be one of the hardest-working coaches around. He’s going to bring in great assistants and great recruits. I think this is a real special opportunity.”
Wright was the 138-pound runner-up at the CIF State Championships last season. He went 37-3 overall, winning titles at the Chukchansi Invitational, The Bash, Central Sequoia League and Sequoia-Sierra Divisionals. All three of his loses – at the Temecula Valley Invitational, Central Section Masters and state – were against state champion Navonte Demison of Bakersfield.
As a freshman, Wright went 42-9, placed third at the Masters meet at 120 pounds and finished one win shy of earning a state medal. As a sophomore, he went 23-6 at 132 pounds before an injury kept him out of the Masters and a shot at the state meet.
Wright is set to become the first NCAA Division I wrestling recruit in Dinuba history.
“It’s big for our program,” Michael Wright said. “It’s a program goal accomplished and a great thing for him, too. We’re really excited. We’re hoping this propels our program to a new level and more kids go for the dream of becoming a college athlete.”
I hope others in the Valley follow and want to take this challenge on, and we can build an amazing program.
Wright said he also received interest from Old Dominion, Virginia, Wisconsin, Cal State Bakersfield and South Dakota, but embraced the challenge of helping Fresno State re-start its program. He projects as a 141- or 149-pounder for the Bulldogs.
“I was trying to find the best fit overall, and right away I saw Fresno State and Coach Steiner was the best fit for me,” Wright said. “I hope others in the Valley follow and want to take this challenge on, and we can build an amazing program.”