I don’t know that I would say they go by Flo primarily. I was just using that to show the level he ended up being when he was getting regular unsolicited calls from D1 coaches. I’m sure they are aware of it, and most top 20 programs probably know a bit about all of the kids on the list, at least enough to decide whether or not to pursue them. But if the average D1 program takes 7-8 kids that’s well over 500 kids, a lot more than the 100 rated by Flo. A few of those guys may go D2 or JuCo, usually for academic reasons. I’m guessing rarely does a top 100 kid go D3.
If he doesn’t do any off-season wrestling though, that’s tough. I have a friend who is a couple years older than S. For whatever reason, he never went to Fargo or any of the big off season tournaments. Summer between jr and sr year, he went to a camp for a low to middle of the road D1 program. He was handling everyone pretty easily, so they put a couple college guys on him, who he also hung with pretty well. That got the coach over there. The coach (one of the youngish guys who still rolls around with his athletes) worked with him one on one for an hour, doing different setups to see how he would react. After an hour, he asked the kid (and dad who was there) to come back to the office.
The coach had a white board with names on it, like many of the coaches have. The kid looked at it, and pointed to a few names, saying “I beat him, him and him.” The coach’s response was “Why have I never heard of you before?” For that particular kid, it worked out. But the point is that this was a kid who had beat nationally ranked guys in season, but because he wrestled in an average state (not PA, OH, etc.) this D1 coach didn’t pay any attention to what he did in season. It is just not on their radar. This kid was knocking off studs, and on his way to being a 4 time state champ, but no one outside his state knew him.
I don’t know that much about Prep Nationals. The guys I know who went there were all solid placers who were also well known from other events. I’m just not much help knowing if college coaches watch non-placement matches there or not. That might be adequate to get some attention, I don’t know.
I know at least a couple high academic D1’s allowed walk ons a couple years ago. It wasn’t very common, but a couple coaches from different programs talked about a kid (both talked about only one kid each) who asked to walk on. They both were surprised, but the kid could hang well enough that they let him stay around. Usually they said they only last a few practices before they drop out.
I would look at the profiles of the wrestlers at the schools he is targeting. See what they have listed for acolades.
My son ended up being pretty highly recruited, but that’s not typical. I will say though that he did a ton of off season work. Starting the summer after 6th grade, wrestling became his primary activity, and we traveled pretty extensively for it. He took a lot of losses for a few years, but he was competing against top talent some of the time. It didn’t matter if it was a local small fun tourney or a big national one, if we could make it, we went. I know several guys who did not do that who are still wrestling in college though. I don’t think his path was the only one.
Getting in front of coaches at a camp if any are being held would be good, if possible wrestling in a couple preseason tournaments would be good too.
His odds are probably better at Brown/Harvard/Columbia as far as Ivies. They aren’t as good and might be more likely to roll the dice. Princeton is getting pretty good, and Penn is too. It’s possible but probably less likely. Cornell most likely out. Northwestern has a small team, so less likely to take a flyer on a kid who may or may not develop.
D2 is more likely to take a chance on him, but no high academic schools there really. D3 might, I don’t know which ones have engineering because that isn’t an area any of my kids have cared about. As I alluded to above, D3 isn’t really recruiting from the same pool as D1. A D3 coach has to take more chances. It might be easier to find a coach hoping your son is a diamond in the rough, rather than a known quantity who just isn’t ever going to be better than a D3 level. Tervel Dlagnev is an Olympic medalist who went D2 because he didn’t start wrestling until soph in HS and no D1 would take a chance on him. But a D2 coach was willing to take a flyer and hope his natural talent would bloom over time if he was given a chance.
I’m happy to answer more questions.