EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE wrestling Head Coach Jeremy Spates announced the addition of four top-flight competitors who will join the Cougars next season.
Saul Ervin (Morganfield, Ky.), Austin Macias (Burlington, Illinois), Justin Ruffin (McDonough, Georgia) and Aaron Schulist (Eagle, Wisconsin) have announced their intentions to become members of the SIUE wrestling family.
"These are great kids who are really into wrestling," said Spates. "When these guys mixed with our current wrestlers, they seemed like family right away. The next few years are going to be fun to watch for Cougar wrestling."
Ervin has three direct connections to SIUE wrestling as his father, Robert, competed for the Cougars during the 1985-86 national championship season and his uncle, Tim, was a three-time Division II All-American from 1979 to 1981. His brother, Isaac, also competed for the Cougars during the 2010-11 season.
A two-time state champion at Union County High School, Ervin has been an accomplished wrestler for several seasons. He most recently earned the 138-pound title at the USAW Preseason Nationals.
"We're happy to get Saul on board," said Spates. "We have seen him wrestle for a number of years and know he's focused on earning a third Kentucky state title."
He is the son of Robert and Laura Ervin. His mother, Laura, also is an alumnus of SIUE.
The defending 2A Illinois state champion at 126 pounds, Macias heads into his senior season at Central High School looking for a repeat. He also took third place his sophomore season.
Macias is a two-time Fargo All-American and has wrestled for Izzy Style for five years. His high school coach, Jordan Bakley, also is a former SIUE wrestler (2010-11).
"We're excited to get another in-state wrestler," said Spates. "Austin has competed at a high level for several seasons and will continue to get better at the next level."
He is the son of Gabe and Kelli Macias.
A three-time state champion in Georgia, Ruffin will go for his fourth state title for Union Grove High School.
Ruffin is a three-time Fargo All-American and two-time Super 32 All-American. He is ranked 59th nationally by FloWrestling.com in all weight classes.
"Justin is coming in as our highest-ranked recruit," said Spates. "He's a kid we have known for a long time. He's a workhorse and has had high school success. He will continue to grow in college and get better."
He is the son of Lloyd and Sidnie Ruffin.
A 133-pounder, Schulist holds a career prep record of 115-15 at Mukwonago High School. He also was the fastest to 100 wins at Mukwonago.
He is a three-time place winner at the Wisconsin state championships earning second during the 2015 and 2016 season as well as fifth in 2017. Schulist has been named first team All-Area twice and is a two-time honoree for Academic All-State.
"Aaron placed at the junior nationals in Fargo and the Super 32, which is one of the biggest tournaments in the country," said Spates. "He just loves to work. He has been working with the Askren brothers (Ben and Max) the last few years, and you can see the influence."
He is the son of Randy and Lisa Schulist.
"So far this is our best recruiting class yet," said Spates. "We will be adding a few more big names to the list in the spring, but we are thrilled with this start."