Phillip Laux is eventually trading red-and-white for black-and-gold, but first he will have to settle for a little gray.
The two-time state champion originally committed and signed a National Letter of Intent to wrestle for the University of Wisconsin as a a senior last year for Iowa City West. After being granted a full release from his scholarship, Laux has decided to continue his college career at the University of Iowa.
Laux confirmed Monday that he informed Coach Tom Brands of his verbal commitment Sunday night to wrestle for the Hawkeyes. Laux, a 2012 West graduate, will delay his college wrestling career, taking classes at Kirkwood Community College before enrolling at Iowa next fall.
Laux posted a 153-12 career mark in high school, winning the Class 3A 103 and 113 titles his final two seasons. He was a four-time state medalist, but said he needed another year to get bigger and mature. He assessed the situation and decided Iowa City was a better fit.
“I felt Iowa City is really my home,” Laux said. ”It’s the place where I belong.”
He complemented the Wisconsin staff and Badgers Coach Barry Davis, training with them during the summer. The final choice was not an easy one to make.
“It was a really tough decision,” Laux said. “I contemplated it for months and months.”
Laux will be in a “gray shirt” year. College athletes have five years to complete four seasons. As long as Laux remains a part-time student at Kirkwood, his eligibility clock will not start until next fall. He currently is taking seven credit hours at Kirkwood.
“Basically,” Laux said, “I’ll get to train the whole year.”
Laux has grown to 130 pounds, remaining a projected 125-pounder in college. He keeps focused on improving and getting stronger, working out with some familiar faces including a former Iowa NCAA finalist.
“I train with my coach Pablo Ubasa,” Laux said. “I’ve been kind of working out with Dan Dennis and I go over to West and practice with the high school clubs.”
He is anxious to be a Hawkeye, despite having to wait another year. Laux said Brands was happy to welcome him aboard Sunday.
“He was really excited to have me,” Laux said of Brands. “He told me he’d take care of me.”