Less than a week after elevating Mike Poeta to the head coach of Illinois’ Fighting Illini the program received their first win on the recruiting trail. One of Illinois’ top high school sophomores has decided to stay in-state and wrestle for the home team. Late last night, Kannon Webster (Washington, IL) announced via social media that he would wrestle for Illinois after his graduation in 2023. Webster is currently ranked 11th in the nation at 113 lbs by MatScouts and was an Illinois 2A state champion in 2020 as a freshman. Prior to his freshman year of high school, Webster was a third-place finisher at the Cadet World Team Trials in freestyle and Greco-Roman. Later in the summer of 2019, Webster went on to take third in Fargo in both styles in the 16U division. Last weekend, Webster was fifth at the Cadet WTT’s while competing at 55 kg’s.
At this point, Webster looks to be a 125/133 lber for the Illini. That could certainly change as there will be more than two years before he officially steps on the campus for Poeta’s team. Illinois is relatively young at their lightweights as 125 lb starter Justin Cardani was a sophomore in 2021 and All-American Lucas Byrd was a redshirt freshman at 133.
The commitment from Webster could be symbolic for the early days of Poeta’s regime. Most observers, including this one, stated that the first-year head coach would have to reel in a couple more big fish from within Illinois’ border to climb up the Big Ten ranks.