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COLUMBUS, Ohio Although the sixth-ranked Ohio State wrestling team is in the midst of its 2008-09 season (3-0; 0-0 Big Ten), Tom Ryan, head coach, did sign four to NCAA National Letters of Intent during the early signing period in November.

Nick Helfin, Ian Paddock, Collin Palmer and Jacob Vaughan will join the Buckeye roster in 2009-10.

“The early signing period was a success as we were able to sign key recruits at crucial weight classes,” Ryan said. “The four signees are among the elite high school athletes in the nation and will allow the program to continue to move in the right direction. They all honed their skills at great high school programs.”

Helfin, a product of Massillon Perry High School, was the 2008 Ohio High School Athletic Association Wrestling Championships runner-up at 152 pounds. Helfin was instrumental in helping Perry finish second in the Division I team standings behind Lakewood St. Edward. A High School Junior National All-American, Heflin is slated to wrestle at either 174 or 184 pounds when he joins the Buckeyes.

“We believe Nick Heflin has the talent and desire to be a great college wrestler,” Ryan said. “He has a great mentality and relentless focus on improving. We are fortunate Nick has decided to stay in-state and wrestle for the Buckeyes. We are certain Nick will be ready for the challenges of college wrestling.”

Paddock is a three-time New York State champion for Warsaw High School. During his junior campaign in 2008, Paddock was named the Division II Most Outstanding Wrestler after winning the 130-pound class. The year before, he was the New York state champion at 119 pounds and Warsaw was crowned team champions. The Buckeye coaching staff is looking to wrestle Paddock at 133 or 141 pounds.

“This is a special recruit,” Ryan said. “Ian is chasing what very few have and that is his fourth New York State Championship. From the moment I met with Ian and his family, I knew we had to make him a Buckeye. He brings a combination of talent, intensity, desire and loyalty to everything he does. We are fortunate Ian has chosen to pursue his academic and athletic career as a Buckeye.”    

Palmer won his third-consecutive state title for Lakewood St. Edward at 135 pounds in 2008. In 2007, Palmer captured the state championship at 125 pounds, while in 2006 he won on a 3:08 pin at 112 pounds. In 2006, Palmer pinned three of his four opponents en route to the title.

“You simply cannot have too many Palmers or St. Edward graduates at Ohio State,” Ryan said. “We are proud Collin has decided to call Ohio State his home and bring his talent and knowledge to Columbus. Collin has been among the elite high school wrestlers for several years and is chasing his fourth Ohio High School championship. We look forward to Collin and Lance reuniting as workout partners at Ohio State.”

A Central Ohio native, Vaughan attends Columbus St. Francis DeSales. A High School Junior National champion, Vaughan placed in the Top 8 at 125 pounds among Division II competitors at the 2007 OHSAA Championships. Vaughan may wrestle at 141 or 149 pounds upon his arrival to campus.

“Jacob proved last year at the High School Nationals he is one of the elite lower weights in the country when he won the title,” Ryan said. “As a Columbus native, it was obvious through the recruiting process Jacob was committed to being a Buckeye. Jacob is another tough competitor from the powerful DeSales program and we are fortunate he will be joining our program.”