Next Season's Returning NCAA All-Americans: 197 Pounds
We've already taken a look at the top 20 teams ranked by order of returning NCAA points. Now we are going through each weight class and highlight every All-American returning for the 2017-18 season.
Top 20 Returning NCAA Team Points | 125 Returning AAs | 133 Returning AAs | 141 Returning AAs | 149 Returning AAs | 157 Returning AAs | 165 Returning AAs | 174 Returning AAs | 184 Returning AAs
We will have a better idea of who will be taking redshirts and what weight classes they will be in as we get closer to the start of the season. Until then, here are our best guesses, though feel free to holler at us with any updates on those topics.
Returns 8 All-American HonorsBoth 197 finalists from St. Louis are gone to graduation. Missouri superstar J'den Cox and the redoubtable Brett Pfarr of Minnesota have collected their sheepskins and exited the collegiate circuit. The 197 class is also the only weight that does not return at least one individual champ, although that could change if Ohio State's Tomasello drops back down to 125, leaving 133 devoid of titles. But there are still plenty of high quality light heavies returning to 197, including these six All-Americans.
Kollin Moore, Ohio State 3, ?, ?, ?Although he had an excellent redshirt season, quite a few wrestling fans were nonetheless taken aback with just how meteoric Moore's rise to the upper echelon of the 197-pound division was last year. The Mountainous Moore only took four losses during his freshman campaign, all four were administered by the two finalists, Cox and Pfarr. However, Moore did collect a win against Pfarr in the Big Ten championship final. The Ohio native will be a key component of head coach Tom Ryan's 2018 team title designs.
Jared Haught, Virginia Tech DNP, 6, 4, ?Senior Jared Haught will be counted on to bring the heat for head coach Tony Robie and the rest of the Hokies faithful. With the graduation of outstanding heavyweight Ty Walz, it will be up to Haught to keep the temperature raised in the latter stages of Virginia Tech dual meets. Just how hot has Haught kept things for Hokiedom in the past? Hot enough to to place in the top eight at the NCAAs in two consecutive years, matching his seed in both occasions. If Haught can maintain his NCAA hot streak, he will be a contender for the 197 title. That would be very hot indeed.
Patrick Downey DNP, 5, DNP, ?Exactly where and when the Unattached Assassin will wrestle another NCAA match is unknown, although we at least have a pretty good idea of what the plan is after he was released from Iowa State. Downey is a junior college champion who also notched a fifth-place finish at the 2016 NCAAs wrestling for Iowa State. The Maryland native will have a new singlet on next season and has the talent and ability to reach the pinnacle of folkstyle wrestling. It's undeniable that what Downey does next will be of interest and significance to the wrestling community, despite the uncertainty and protests to the contrary.
Willie Miklus, Missouri 7, 6, DNP, ?It's arguable that only an injury stopped the two-time All-American Miklus from making the podium for the third time in a row last season. Tigers head coach Brian Smith expects the Iowa native healthy and back in the lineup next season and also up a weight class to fill the void left by Cox's departure. Those are some mighty imposing shoes to fill, but Miklus has proven himself capable of taking on and beating the best. He will be one to watch at 197.
Kevin Beazley, Michigan DNP, DNP, 8, ?Technically, Beazley has already graduated, receiving a diploma from Old Dominion this spring. But the Michigan native still has a year of eligibility left and plans to use it while wearing a Wolverines singlet and taking graduate courses at the University of Michigan. Beazley upset Nebraska's Aaron Studebaker in the second round of the NCAAs last season and then beat dark horse Cash Wilcke of Iowa in the bloodround to earn his spot on the podium in St. Louis.
Preston Weigel, Oklahoma State DNP, 6, ?, ?Preston Weigel is yet another of a seemingly endless string of studs who inevitably emerge from John Smith's powerhouse Oklahoma State program. But that kind of production only happens because the hard work and dedication of the coaches and wrestlers. A Kansas native, Weigel has put in the work, elevating his game from a round of 12 finish in 2016 to become an All-American as a sophomore in St. Louis. Expect Weigel to be in the mix again in Cleveland.
Watch Moore finish his season with a exclamation point as he pins Haught in the NCAA consolation finals in the video below.
Did we miss anybody? Let us know! And stay tuned for the final installment coming up next!