Andrew Campolattano, two-time NCAA qualifier for Ohio State and four-time New Jersey high school state champion, has enrolled at Rutgers and plans to wrestle for the Scarlet Knights next season, two websites reported late Wednesday afternoon.
NJ.com – website for the Newark Star-Ledger -- first posted the news at approximately 3:30 p.m. Eastern, opening its story with this statement: “Four-time New Jersey high school state wrestling champion Andrew Campolattano said he has enrolled as a student at Rutgers and will be eligible to join the Scarlet Knights wrestling team next season.”
The decorated wrestler who graduated from Bound Brook High School in 2011 told the Star-Ledger’s Matthew Stanmyre that he will have two seasons of wrestling eligibility with Rutgers, he said.
“When January comes around next year I’ll be full-throttle, ready to go because I’m hungry,” Campolattano said. “When you hit rock bottom you realize what’s important to you. You realize how much you really want something.
“Everything is critical right now. There’s not much physically that’s going to stop me. Physically and mentally I’m more hungry than I’ve ever been in my life,” Campolattano continued. “As bad as everything was, there was a silver lining and it really motivated me and now I’m a different person. I’m stronger because of what happened.”
Campolattano, who was a two-time NCAA qualifier at 197 pounds for Ohio State in 2012 and 2013, was “removed” (to quote Buckeyes’ head wrestling coach Tom Ryan) from the program in late April 2013. Days later, he was among 16 individuals facing felony drug charges in a Columbus, Ohio drug roundup. However, by mid-May, charges were dropped against Campolattano.
Campolattano told the Star-Ledger that he will begin taking classes at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, on Monday. He will not be allowed to join the Scarlet Knights mat squad this season, but he can work out with the school's club team, which Campolattano said he plans to do.
"I want to step in and try and help out the team as much as I possibly can," he said. "On an individual basis I want to win a national title. I would be lying to you right now if I said I didn’t want to win a national title."
By wrestling at Rutgers, Campolattano will join fellow four-time New Jersey state champ Anthony Ashnault – only the third four-timer in Garden State mat history -- who is now a redshirt freshman, according to MyCentralJersey.com.
In 2011, Campolattano was one of the nation's highest-ranked wrestling recruits, having become only the second wrestler in New Jersey to have won four mat titles (following Mike Gray, who did it in 2006), ), compiling an incredible 175-1 record with 116 pins. After first committing to play football at Rutgers, Campolattano decided he would rather wrestle. After considering six major Division I mat programs stretching from Rutgers to Nebraska, Campolattano signed a letter of intent to wrestle for the Buckeyes in April 2011.
In two seasons as starter at 197 for Ohio State, Campolattano compiled an overall record of 40-26, going 17-12 in 2012-13. The 6'3" Campolattano was a two-time qualifier for the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, falling one win short of becoming an All American at the 2012 NCAAs as a freshman. At the 2013 NCAAs in Des Moines, the unseeded Buckeye lost his opening-round bout to No. 8 seed Micah Burak of Penn, 8-7, then, in his first match in the consolation bracket, was pinned by Cornell's Jace Bennett at 4:48.
Despite moving from Ohio State to Rutgers, Campolattano may find himself facing familiar foes on the mat, as the Scarlet Knights will be competing in the Big Ten starting in the 2014-15 season.
Want to know more? Check out College Wrestling Examiner's full roster of stories on Andrew Campolattano. And see the Buckeye-turned-Scarlet Knight in action in high school, pinning down his historic fourth New Jersey 215-pound state title in less than a minute
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