Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He appears weekly on The Red Zone w/ JB on 92.1 FM Fayetteville, The Morning Rush w/ Tye & Tommy on 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home, 99.5 FM in Fayetteville and The Zone w/ Justin & Wess on 103.7 FM in Little Rock.
The Recruiting Guy:
Illinois OL takes power to mat
2023 Arkansas offensive line target Charles Jagusah and his longtime coach Louie Montez.
University of Arkansas junior offensive line target Charles Jagusah is dominant on the gridiron and the wrestling mat as evident by his 25-0 record so far this season.
Jagusah, 6-6, 297 pounds, of Rock Island (Ill.) Alleman, is Illinois’ No. 1 ranked wrestler in Class 1A for the 285-pound class while only facing one serious challenge so far and overpowering all others.
His long time coach Louie Montez, 73, is in his 52nd year of coaching wrestling and estimates he’s coached approximately 2,000 wrestlers in his career. But there’s no doubt where Jaguash ranks.
“Number one, yeah number one,” Montez said. “He’s a gentle giant, he really is. Everybody likes him. The guys just kind of follow him. I haven’t had anything like him.”
Jagusah, a two-time junior high school champion in wrestling, has football scholarship offers from Arkansas, Notre Dame, Illinois, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wisconsin Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and numerous others.
He visited Fayetteville for the Hogs’ 34-17 victory over Missouri in November and has plans to visit in the spring. Montez said Jagusah excels because he’s “very coachable.”
“That’s why he’s so successful because when you talk to him on what he needs to work on, you can see the cogs turning,” Montez said. “You can tell he’s listening. He just inhales all the information you give him.”
The benefits of participating in wrestling has been hailed by some of the best football players to ever play the game.
Pro Football Hall of Famer Ray Lewis won the Florida Class 4A wrestling title as a senior in high school and credits the sport for helping him excel on the gridiron. HUDL reports nearly 6% of Hall of Fame inductees were wrestlers in high school or college.
Offensive linemen benefit greatly from the leverage part of wrestling while applying it to football.
“If you know anything about wrestling, most of the time it’s not how strong you are, it’s how you apply leverage in the position you want to attack,” Montez said.
Montez started coaching in 1970 and coached his sons through high school with one going on to be a two-time college All American. He also coached Jaguash’s uncles Owen, John and Brian. All three also played football.
He worked as a foreman in the steel industry for 41 years before retiring in 2007.
“I was able to work and put my time in and still be able to coach in the evening,” Montez said.
Indiana’s No. 1 ranked wrestler in the 285 pound division Leighton Jones is the lone competitor to push Jagusah to three two-minute periods.
“He was a big burly boy, too,” Montez said of Jones, who has a football offer from Eastern Kentucky. “He took Charlie into overtime.”
Montez, who has coached Jagusah since grade school, said Jaguash is mild mannered off the mat but is able to turn the switch once he’s competing.
“Even when he’s in a bout with an opponent ,he’s always got a smile on his face,” Montez said. “He’s so pleasant. He’s such a pleasant young man and I thought maybe it causes problems with him because he’s so nice. He just gets along with everybody He does what he has to do to win. He’s a two-person personality when he gets on the mat and when he gets off the mat.”
Jaguash showed his dominance recently at the 58th annual Lyle King Invitational Tournament, where he pinned all four of his opponents in the first period and needed just 3:04 to do so. He was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler for the event.
“He had four matches and he went a total of three minutes,” Montez said. “He had a kid in the championship that was pretty burly. He really looked strong and Charlie just annihilated him. Pinned him in the first period.
“The last guy he pinned, he comes off [the mat] laughing. He said, ‘Keep that animal away from me.’ ”
Montez said he expects Jagusah to add a state title to his resume this season.
“Oh, he’ll do it this year,” Montez said.
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