ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan wrestling head coach Joe McFarland announced Wednesday (Nov. 21) that five student-athletes -- Domenic Abounader (Gates Mills, Ohio/St. Edward HS), Adam Coon (Fowlerville, Mich./Fowlerville HS), George Fisher (St. Charles, Ill./Marmion Academy), Brian Murphy (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North HS) and Ben Whitford (St. Johns, Mich./St. Johns HS) -- have signed National Letters of Intent during the early signing period to attend U-M and compete in wrestling next fall.
The class includes four individuals listed among the top 20 national recruits by InterMat, and all five members are ranked among the top 15 at their respective weight classes. The group has combined for nine state titles and 15 Fargo All-America citations in freestyle and Greco-Roman.
"We couldn't be more excited about having these guys join our program," said McFarland. "All five of them embody the type of student-athlete that we look for at Michigan, and I think they will all fit into our program quite well. They all are athletic, aggressive and have a great work ethic. I really like the character and commitment that they bring to our program. Over the years, those are the kind of guys that have found a lot of success in our program."
Listed as the nation's top-ranked 195-pound wrestler and No. 20 overall recruit, Abounader is a two-time Ohio state champion at powerhouse St. Edward High School, winning at 182 pounds as a junior (2012) and 160 pounds as a sophomore (2011). He boasts a 99-8 career prep record with just two losses over the last two seasons. Off the mat, Abounader was a two-year starter at free safety on St. Edward's nationally ranked football team. He is projected to compete at 184 or 197 pounds for Michigan.
Coon, the nation's top-ranked heavyweight and No. 2 overall recruit, is a three-time Michigan state champion, claiming back-to-back titles at 215 pounds (2010, '11) before winning at 285 pounds as a junior (2012). He owns a career prep record of 157-3, including a 106-0 mark over the last two seasons. Coon has excelled in the international styles, capturing a USA Wrestling Triple Crown in 2012 with Junior National titles in Greco-Roman, freestyle and folkstyle. He also captured the 100 kg/220-pound freestyle title at the 2011 FILA Cadet World Championships in Hungary. Off the mat, Coon earned all-state football honors at linebacker and is a two-time all-state performer in the shot put. He will wrestle at heavyweight at Michigan.
Listed as the nation's No. 14-ranked 132-pound wrestler, Fisher captured an Illinois state title at 119 pounds as a sophomore (2011) and is a two-time state finalist, taking second place at 126 pounds last season. He owns a 113-17 career prep record. Earlier this month, he captured the 132-pound title at USA Wrestling Preseason Nationals. Fisher will likely wrestle at 133 or 141 for Michigan.
Ranked No. 2 nationally at 152 pound and as the No. 11 overall recruit, Murphy is a three-time Illinois state placewinner, claiming second place at 140 pounds (2011) and 152 pounds (2012) after placing third at 130 pounds as a freshman (2010). He is 129-13 in his prep career, posting a near-perfect 34-1 mark as a junior last season. Murphy is a three-time Fargo All-American in freestyle, capturing a 2010 Cadet title at 140 pounds. Off the mat, he earned all-conference honors as starting quarterback and safety at Glenbard North High, which will play in the Illinois Class 8A state championship game this weekend. He is projected to wrestle at 157 or 165 pounds for Michigan.
Whitford, the nation's No. 4 overall recruit, is a three-time state champion, claiming two titles -- at 119 and 130 pounds -- at Marmion Academy in Illinois before capturing a 140-pound crown in his native Michigan last season. He boasts a near-perfect 127-1 career prep record, including undefeated seasons as a freshman (44-0) and junior (42-0). In international styles, Whitford is a five-time Fargo champion, winning three freestyle titles and two Greco-Roman titles. He missed last summer's tournament with injury. He will likely wrestle at 141 or 149 pounds at Michigan.
Michigan will fill out its incoming class with several additional members in the spring.