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    November 11, 2022 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    Jakob Brown, a three-time 138-pound Virginia High School League (VHSL) state qualifier and two-time regional finalist who wrestled at Kellam High School in Virginia Beach before transferring to another Class 6A school, Grassfield High in Chesapeake, Virginia, signed on Wednesday to compete for Liberty University’s men’s wrestling team next fall.

    Brown competed in Jiu Jitsu growing up under his father, Steve, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt and Jeet Kune Do, Muay Thai, and Kali instructor and co-owner of Grappler’s Garage in Virginia Beach.

    “We’re pretty much a martial arts family,” Steve Brown said. “He’s been doing Jiu Jitsu since he was about 4 or 5 years old and competed nationally until about age 12-13, when he really got into focusing on wrestling. As a Jiu Jitsu (competitor), you’re comfortable being on your back, but in wrestling, you can’t be on your back. Once he was able to mentally fuse them together … it really worked for him.”

    Brown has a background in Jiu Jitsu, but has focused on wrestling since middle school.

    He visited campus  for the third time and trained with the team for as he did last month, in preparation for his senior season at Grassfield, where he is a state title contender, as well as to jockey for position as a 141-pound wrestler at Liberty.

    “I’m looking forward to growing my faith and continuing to wrestle,” said Brown, who plans to pursue a B.S. in Criminal Justice. “It seems like a family here.”

    Flames Head Coach Jesse Castro recruited Brown over the past year, through connections to Grassfield Head Coach Patrick Shuler.

    “He came to our camp and I actually saw him wrestle at the LCA (Liberty Christian Academy) tournament last year and took notes on him and had my eye on him then,” Castro said, noting that Brown won that tournament, which attracted several of the top teams in the state.

    Castro knows Shuler, a former University of Wyoming wrestler who is the son of former Liberty Head Coach Don Shuler, who Castro served as assistant coach under in the early 1990s.

    “He spoke very highly of him and thought he would be a real good fit for us,” Castro said.

    Brown has thrived under Shuler’s leadership, and expects to do the same under Castro at Liberty, the four-time defending NCWA National Duals and NCWA Grand National tournament champions.

    “He’s been a tremendous coach, instilling things in me that have helped boost my confidence and being like another father figure in my life,” he said of Patrick Shuler. “He’s focused on building a family culture. I’m definitely looking to become a starter here (at Liberty) and to win a (NCWA) national title.”

    By Ted Allen/Staff Writer