Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz impressed with offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs’ weight loss to wrestle last winter

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Freshman offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs dominated Iowa high school athletics as a senior at Mount Vernon, earning awards as the state’s top male athlete from the Des Moines Register and Cedar Rapids Gazette.

Wirfs was a dominant football player for the Mustangs. He also won the Class 2A state heavyweight title in wrestling as well as Class 3A crown in the shot put and discus. But the most impressive part of Wirfs’ year to Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz was how his young pupil cut 37 pounds in order to take the mat in wrestling. Wirfs weighed 322 pounds and he needed to trim to 285 in order make Iowa’s heavyweight maximum.

“The single most impressive thing that he’s done in his career — and he’s done a lot of impressive things for a high school graduate — but him losing that weight …” Ferentz said.

Wirfs and Ferentz spoke around Thanksgiving, and Wirfs mentioned the wrestling coaches were trying to recruit him to take the mat.

“I’m like, ‘You’re going to have to get an amputation to get down to 280, 285,’” Ferentz recalled. “That’s going to be a tough one, and he sure as heck did it. For a big guy to do what he did, that’s really uncommon. He’s a delightful young man, really a tremendous young guy.”

At 6-foot-5 and now 315 pounds, Wirfs earned an invite to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and was a 4-star football recruit. He’s strictly an offensive lineman and with Iowa’s veteran unit, it’s likely he’ll redshirt this season. But Wirfs will have a chance to contend for playing time, Ferentz said.

“That’s one position where we have some experience currently, knock on wood, you just never know,” Ferentz said. “But we have experience and depth. But we’re going to let him compete, too. If we have a decision to make, that would be great.”

Wirfs has impressed teammates with his work ethic this summer.

“He’s gifted,” said Iowa senior left tackle Boone Myers, a three-year starter. “He’s got size, and he’s got some footwork. He’s got some moves. He’s played offensive line. Me as a tight end, I didn’t know much about offensive line coming in. You could say he’s a little bit ahead.”

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Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz impressed with offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs’ weight loss to wrestle last winter

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