It was one of the country’s toughest tournaments for high school wrestlers. Coaching Seth Nevills were two of the toughest wrestlers in college.
Wrestling at FloNationals earlier this month, Nevills had a couple familiar faces in his corner. One was his brother and current Penn State All-America heavyweight Nick Nevills. The other was 157-pound national champion Jason Nolf. Together they helped lead Seth to the 285-pound title, while also reinforcing his future college destination.
“Nick and Jason were awesome coaches,” Seth Nevills said on Monday. “Coming from that kind of a program, you just get to see through their words of what is going to be expected of you and it’s just awesome for them to keep telling me to score points when you’re tired. It’s something I like.”
On Friday, a couple weeks following that national competition, Nevills announced via Twitter that he would follow in the footsteps of brother Nick and Nolf, verbally committing to continue his wrestling career at Penn State.
Natives of Clovis, Calif., Seth is the youngest of four boys, all of which are Division I wrestlers. The eldest, Zach, just completed his senior season at Stanford, while qualifying for his first NCAA tournament. Nick is the second oldest, followed by AJ. AJ verbally committed to wrestle for PSU out of high school in the Class of 2016 and spent his first season as a grayshirt, training with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club. He has since announced that he’ll head back to California and wrestle collegiately for Fresno State starting next season.
Throughout Nick’s and AJ’s experiences at Penn State, Seth has been able to get firsthand experiences at University Park, having made extended visits during the summer, starting when Nick first joined the team almost three years ago.
“When AJ was in high school we’d go out there during the summer and we’d hang out with Nick for a while and we’d explore the Penn State campus and wrestle a little bit and I kind of just fell in love with the place,” Nevills said. “Ever since my freshman year I’ve just been in love with the place. I’ve been in love the program and it’s taken me here to my commitment.”
For almost three years now Nevills has known that Penn State would likely be his future choice, but it wasn’t until about a week ago when he began finalizing the decision.
As the No. 10-ranked wrestler in the Class of 2018 and the second-ranked heavyweight in the country, according to FloWrestling.com, Nevills had suitors besides Penn State who recruited him for wrestling. But any courtship was short-lived as most coaches figured that his connections to PSU would ultimately lead him there.
What gave him additional pause before committing to PSU was a possible shot at football. As a standout offensive lineman for Clovis High, some smaller Division I schools showed interest but in the end his pursuits on the wrestling mat, his association with PSU’s wrestling program and his ambitions within the sport won out.
“There were a few schools in there for wrestling, but I think everybody just kind of assumed that I was going to Penn State, so there wasn’t a whole lot of activity,” Nevills said, opting not to identify which specific teams showed interest. “I mean, there are a few schools that (tried to recruit him) but not too much. Everybody already kind of thought I was going to Penn State. Then football was in there for a little bit. It was fun for my sophomore and junior year but I always loved wrestling more and that’s what I want to do and my goals are all for wrestling.”
One of his more immediate aspirations is to conclude his high school career with a fourth consecutive state championship and to continue his undefeated run. He won his third title as a junior, winning all 37 matches by pin. He has yet to be beaten in a California high school match.
Next year, however, he won’t necessarily be as fixed on extending his pin streak. Rather, he’ll be working to become a more well-rounded grappler and to expand on his repertoire of takedown maneuvers.
“For my senior year, I think I’m going to score a lot more points,” Nevills said. “A lot of my matches last year, I would take them down and pin them just to keep that streak alive, but for my senior year I think I’m going to try to score a lot more points on my feet and just get in better shape.”
Nevills is the fourth recruit to join Penn State’s Class of 2018. Also verbally committed to PSU are Gavin Teasdale of Jefferson-Morgan (Pa.); Travis Wittlake of Marshfield (Ore.); Roman Bravo-Young of Sunnyside (Ariz.); and Joe Lee of Evansville (Ind.) Nevills (285), Teasdale (126), Wittlake (170) and Bravo-Young (132) are all currently ranked among the top two at their respective weight class.
The earliest they can all sign with PSU is in November. Once they do, Nevills has even taller goals for not only himself but also his future teammates.
“To be a four-time NCAA champion and go undefeated and be a four-time team champion,” he said. “I think with the recruiting classes coming in and the people already there, I think we can do it without a doubt.”