|PHOTO COURTESY OF TKOPHOTOS.SHUTTERFLY.COM|
Cody Law went 36-2 last year and has a career record of 81-26.
Not Cody Law.
So, when the coach of the two-time defending NCAA champion Penn State Nittany Lions came calling, Law gave the predictable answer: Yes.
As in, “Yes, I want to be a Nittany Lion.”
After a weekend visit to State College, Law told Sanderson that he plans to join him there next season.
“Cody, he was talking about how they really wanted him,” Forest Hills coach Jake Strayer told me on Monday night. “When a high school kid hears that from somebody like Cael, it’s pretty hard not to go there.”
Law, a PIAA Class AA runner-up at 160 pounds last season, also was considering Pitt-Johnstown.
“Cody’s been looking for awhile and debating,” Strayer said. “After visiting this weekend, he came back today and said ‘I don’t think I can go anywhere else.’ He said the coaches were just great and the other wrestlers said it was great.”
Law saw some familiar faces in State College, like Jimmy Gulibon of Derry, who is a true freshman at Penn State after winning his fourth straight PIAA title last year. Like Law, Gulibon worked out regularly at the Young Guns wrestling club run by Jody and John Strittmatter.
“The coaches ate with us,” Law said of his visit to Penn State. “I went to a football game. Jimmy Gulibon was my host. I loved it. I feel like the coaches will do a lot for me and I feel like it gives me a chance to be successful there. After this weekend, there was nowhere else I wanted to wrestle.”
That wasn’t meant as a slight to UPJ, where Jody Strittmatter is the assistant coach.
“I really like Coach (Pat) Pecora a lot, and Jody’s been my coach for years,” Law said. “UPJ’s nice. If I wasn’t going to Penn State, I would go there.”
While it was hard to say “no” to UPJ, it was impossible for him not to say “yes” to Penn State.
“I can’t feel bad about it because I’m doing what is best for me,” Law said.
Strayer was an All-American at Penn State in 2007, but Law said his coach didn’t push him toward his alma mater.
“He hasn’t tried to steer me,” Law said. “It’s more like he let it up to me. It’s my decision. His biggest advice was to go big at some point. Penn State is as big as I can go. Now that I made the decision, he thinks I made the right decision.”
Law, who plans to wrestle at 165 pounds in college, will join a loaded Nittany Lions team. Possible practice partners include national champ David Taylor, All-American Dylan Alton and Matt Brown, who went 27-2 as a backup last year and likely would have been an All-American at almost any other school. With that kind of pedigree in the Penn State wrestling room, Law was willing to forego the possible scholarship offers that could have come his way with another big high school season.
“A lot of the freshman told me they don’t get too much money,” Law said of the Penn State wrestlers he spoke with. “It’s not about the money. It’s about being the best. The money will come when I am the best.”