The Nevills Brothers – AJ and Nick – are reuniting.
And their encore performance will feature the pursuit of national college, rather than state high school, wrestling championships.
AJ Nevills, who teamed with Nick to help Clovis High School capture the 2014 CIF State wrestling title, has orally committed to join his older brother at national power Penn State.
Nevills will sign his letter of intent at noon Wednesday as part of a National Signing day campus ceremony that also will include wrestling teammate Josh Hokit committing to Drexel (where he will join older brother Isaiah), football player JJ Wills to Idaho, girls tennis player Gabriella Gutierrez to Arizona Christian and girls water polo player Cassidy Crouch to UC Davis.
Never miss a local story.
“One of the main things that I choose Penn State was because I loved it when I visited,” Nevills said of the campus in State College, Pa. “I love Clovis, but it’s so much greener than Clovis. And, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take it because of my brother. We can spend five years there together. He loves it there, and I can love it, too.”
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take it because of my brother. We can spend five years there together. He loves it there, and I can love it, too.
Clovis High wrestler AJ Nevills, who is set to sign a national letter of intent with Penn State, where he will reunite with older brother Nick
Penn State, which has won four of the past five national titles and is currently top-ranked under wrestling legend Cael Sanderson, lands a wrestler ranked in the top 15 nationally at 220 pounds in two major polls – No. 11 by Intermat and No. 14 by Flowrestling.
Nevills (22-4 with 17 pins) is ranked No. 1 in the state at 195 pounds and is projected to remain at that weight class for the postseason, which launches Feb. 13 with the Tri-River Athletic Conference championships, followed by the Yosemite Divisionals on Feb. 19-20, the Masters on Feb. 27 and the CIF State Championships on March 4-5.
Nevills was the state runner-up at 182 pounds as a junior and placed seventh at 182 as a sophomore, making major contributions to the past two of Clovis’ run of five consecutive state team titles.
“For anyone who likes wrestling and enjoys competition and wants to compete at the highest level, he just jumped into it,” Clovis coach Steve Tirapelle said. “AJ is going to have his work cut out for him on that team. It’s a championship-caliber program, but I think he’ll fit in.”
AJ Nevills becomes the third son of Wayne and Kerri Nevills to receive a wrestling scholarship. The couple’s oldest son, Zach, wrestles for Stanford. Their youngest, Seth, is the defending 220-pound state champion and the state’s top-ranked 285-pounder as a sophomore for Clovis.
AJ and Seth visited Nick in State College for two weeks over the summer, then AJ took his official visit in October. He was quickly drawn to a program that’s produced 29 national champions, including eight in Sanderson’s first five seasons.
“The first time I walked in the (wrestling) room, I looked around and just said, ‘Wow. There are national champions, Olympic champions, world champions here,’ ” Nevills said. “I’m just ready to embrace that and be a part of the team.”
The first time I walked in the (wrestling) room, I looked around and just said, ‘Wow.’ There are national champions, Olympic champions, world champions here. I’m just ready to embrace that and be a part of the team.
Clovis High wrestler AJ Nevills on committing to national power Penn State
Nevills said he also considered signing with Northern Iowa and Drexel, but the allure of training with his brother was too strong to pass up.
AJ Nevills projects as a 197-pounder in college, while Nick wrestles at 285. Nick, a redshirt freshman, has been sidelined all season because of a torn pectoral muscle. It is has not been decided yet whether Nick will return this season or use a medical redshirt.
“I love my brother,” AJ Nevills said. “He’ll push me to be my best, and I’ll push him to be his best.”