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Already, Dover native Brooks Black has competed in -- and won -- some of the most prestigious prep wrestling tournaments in the country.

Beginning next year, Black will continue his career against some of the nation’s top collegiate competition.

The senior heavyweight, who wrestles at Blair Academy in New Jersey, gave a verbal commitment earlier this month to the University of Illinois. He plans to sign his official letter of intent to the school Friday.

“I fell in love with just everything out there,” Black said in a phone interview Tuesday. “I liked the atmosphere ... just watching the practice, connecting with the team.”

Black made official visits to five schools. He chose Illinois over Cornell, Oklahoma, Iowa and Ohio State.

Black is already one of the country’s most accomplished high school wrestlers, having won elite-level tournaments such as the Ironman (twice) and the Beast of the East (twice) in addition to a USA Wrestling cadet national championship. He’s rated one of the top wrestling prospects in the 2013 class -- Amateur Wrestling News ranks him as its No. 2 heavyweight, and the No. 12 overall prospect in the class.

I wrote this profile of Black last year.

Black grew up in Dover, but chose to attend high school at Blair, a private boarding school that also houses perhaps the country’s top prep wrestling program.

Illinois enters this season ranked No. 6 in the nation. Black said he will likely redshirt his first season with the Illini.

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