Doug Schwab spent his Labor Day weekend on the recruiting trail, and ultimately came away with one of the biggest recruiting victories during his time as Northern Iowa’s head wrestling coach.
Cory Land, a standout wrestler from Alabama, announced his commitment to Northern Iowa on Monday. He picked the Panthers over the likes of Nebraska, North Carolina, N.C. State, among others. He projects at 125/133 pounds.
“UNI bound,” Land wrote in an Instagram post, announcing his decision. “Been waiting for the moment since I started wrestling to commit to a D1 college and now I can say I did it. Excited and blessed.
“Thank you to all my coaches, training partners, friends, and family that have helped me get this far.”
Schwab will begin Year 12 as the Panthers’ head coach this winter, but Land is without question one of the biggest and most-credentialed recruits to join Northern Iowa during his tenure.
Land, a senior from Moody, Alabama, is considered the No. 19 overall prospect in the 2022 class, according to MatScouts, and is currently ranked No. 2 nationally at 120 pounds. He’s won four Alabama state titles with a 154-0 career record. He also took third at the Junior folkstyle national championships last March.
Even more, Land is a two-time Cadet world team member, making the Greco-Roman world team in both 2019 and 2021. This summer, he stormed through the Cadet world team trials by going 6-0 and outscoring his opponents 52-8, including a two-match sweep over Underwood’s Gable Porter in the best-of-three finals.
In July, Land won a silver medal at the Cadet greco world championships in Budapest, winning his first three matches by a combined 24-6 before falling in the finals to Russia’s Valerii Mangutov. He is the United States’ first Cadet greco world medalist since 2018, and first Cadet greco world finalist since 2017.
Land could be an instant contributor for a Northern Iowa team that has steadily climbed upward under Schwab. He is the current centerpiece of a 2022 recruiting class that, right now, features two native Iowans: North Butler-Clarksville heavyweight Chet Buss and Don Bosco lightweight Garrett Funk.
Buss announced his commitment in March. He is a two-time heavyweight state champ in Iowa’s Class 1A, and will carry a 127-2 career record into his senior year this winter, which includes 96 career pins. Funk, a two-time 1A state medalist, announced his commitment just a few hours before Land.
It’s been a busy holiday weekend for Schwab and Company, but the results that came from their extra work yielded promising dividends — excitement now for a high-level addition to the program, and, they hope, top-tier results in the not-so-distant future.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.