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High school superstar gives initial impressions on Penn State wrestling recruitment

Dubbed “the most popular high school wrestler ever,” Bo Bassett recently offered his first thoughts on Penn State wrestling with the 2026 recruiting contact period set to open this month.

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Penn State wrestling, Bo Bassett, 2026 recruiting
Littlestown's Cameron Mingee (rear) wrestles Bishop McCort's Bo Bassett in the 139-pound championship bout at the PIAA Class 2A Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center on March 9, 2024, in Hershey.

Already possessing a larger-than-life reputation, Bishop McCort sophomore Bo Bassett will be one of the most famous college wrestlers of his time once he reaches the next level. However, where the high school superstar will wrestle collegiately is anything but predetermined. With the contact period for the 2026 recruiting cycle set to open this month, Bassett recently joined the Baschamania podcast to offer his initial impressions of Penn State wrestling and several other programs and explain why he is choosing to keep his recruitment wide open.

Bo Bassett “excited” to keep his recruitment open

The legend of Bo Bassett has already taken on a life of its own, despite the wrestler’s young age of 17. A PIAA state champion, Gold Medalist at the U17 World Championships, and a U.S. U20 Freestyle World Team member, Bassett is one of the top young wrestlers on the mat.

But with a growing personal brand, Bo Bassett has become a superstar. The high school sophomore has his own endorsement deal, a website, and over 100,000 followers on Instagram. Proclaimed as “the most popular high school wrestler ever,” Bassett will be an extremely coveted prospect in the 2026 recruiting class when the contact period for the cycle opens on June 15.

Bassett is also completely up for grabs. In December, the Bishop McCort star announced on social media that he was keeping his “options wide open” in his recruitment.

Now that the time has arrived, Bassett is sticking to his guns. Joining Justin Basch on this week’s episode of BaschamaniaBassett explained why he’s approaching his recruitment with an open mind.

“I don’t prefer any other schools over anyone else, and I’m really excited to be open,” he said. “As far as college recruiting, I’m excited to go see where I best fit. And I think that there’s a lot of different factors that I’m looking into, but I think it’s just where I can be the most successful and get the most out of it. I’m going to take my visits. I’m not going to commit on day one or probably within the first month to six months.”

Even in the age of the transfer portal, the Bishop McCort standout still views his choice as a one-time decision.

“I’m going to take my time, and really make the right decision,” he said. “You only get that decision once, and I’m a pretty loyal guy, so I don’t really see myself transferring out ever.”

Penn State wrestling may be “one of the best dynasties” in all sports

Many have already assumed that Bo Bassett is destined to join Cael Sanderson and the Penn State wrestling program. With the Johnstown area a short drive from State College, the young star already has strong ties to the Nittany Lions.

He already has blood in the program, too; Bassett’s cousin, Erik Gibson, also of Bishop McCort, was a freshman for the Nittany Lions last season.

While his preexisting relationship certainly helps, Bassett is still not a shoo-in for Penn State. Still, he can’t help but marvel at what Cael Sanderson has built in Happy Valley.

“Penn State may be one of the best dynasties, obviously not just in wrestling, but maybe in any sport. What they’re doing is insane, and it’ll be cool to see how they keep just progressing and trying to get better,” Bassett said. “That’s always a challenge, but they always, obviously, probably overdo any expectations that they’re ever given, and it’s pretty insane to see them keep winning and honestly getting better, like they keep just dominating.

“And I had the opportunity to train there once and twice a week at the NLWC. So you know, I’ve been in the room. I’ve trained with their guys…It’s only about an hour and 15 minutes [away from me], and what they’re doing is working. And it’s pretty cool to see that. I know a lot of guys there, and my cousin goes there now, Erik Gibson. So I think that Penn State is an unbelievable place.”

Could Bassett help David Taylor restore the Cowboys’ dynasty?

Penn State wrestling has maintained a vice grip on the sport for the last decade. Cael Sanderson appears to be turning the dial up to 11, too, with back-to-back top recruiting classes set to arrive in 2024 and 2025.

But we’ve yet to see the impact that David Taylor’s hiring at Oklahoma State will have on the college wrestling recruiting landscape. A major first domino to fall could be a top prospect like Bo Bassett in the 2026 recruiting cycle.

Bassett has a preexisting relationship with Taylor from camps with the Penn State wrestling legend at the Young Guns Wrestling Club. And while he hasn’t had much one-on-one time with Taylor as a coach, Bassett’s expectations are high.

“I think what my dad said, he hit the nail on the head a couple of years ago. He said he’s probably going to be a better coach than he is a wrestler,” Bassett said. “And that’s pretty crazy. Obviously, being what he is as a wrestler.”

Beyond just David Taylor, Bassett thinks the staff assembled in Stillwater is top-class.

“And now, as he [Taylor] took over at a college, and he’s down in Oklahoma State, and I think that that’s probably gonna be a rivalry now with Penn State and Oklahoma State,” he said. “You get a hire like Taylor and Thomas Gilman and staff. I think that it’s unbelievable what they have going on there, and it’s pretty cool.

The benefit of being in the 2026 recruiting cycle is that the “most popular high school wrestler ever” has plenty of time to see how it all plays out.

“I think it’s [Oklahoma State] pretty enticing, and it’ll be fun to see how it plays out in the next couple of months and maybe over the next year.”



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Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

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