2024 Penn State vs Iowa Wrestling

Will Penn State Pull Tyler Kasak's Redshirt Against Iowa?

Will Penn State Pull Tyler Kasak's Redshirt Against Iowa?

A breakdown of whether or not Penn State pull true freshman Tyler Kasak's redshirt to wrestle against Iowa.

Feb 7, 2024 by Jon Kozak
Will Penn State Pull Tyler Kasak's Redshirt Against Iowa?

#1 Penn State will take on #3 Iowa in the biggest dual of the weekend this Friday, at 9:00 pm (ET). Along with several storylines to follow, one of the biggest of the night will be whether or not Penn State rolls out true freshman Tyler Kasak at 149 pounds. If Kasak steps out on the mat in Carver-Hawkeye, Kasak’s redshirt will officially be pulled and he’ll be confirmed as the starter for the rest of the season.

Is Tyler Kasak’s Redshirt Already Burned?

According to new NCAA rules released in 2022, true freshman are allowed to wrestle attached for their university up to 5 times and still be eligible to redshirt. So far, Kasak has wrestled in 6 competitions. That means his redshirt has already been pulled, right? Not so fast! One of his competitions was the Mat Town Open II on January 28. Technically, that tournament could still count as an unattached event and Kasak’s redshirt could be intact. However, if Kasak wrestles Friday against Iowa, all questions will be answered and Kasak’s redshirt will be unquestionably burned.

Tyler Kasak's first win of the season at the Black Knight Invite at 141 pounds:

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Tyler Kasak’s Potential At 149 pounds

Kasak took over the starting spot in December after returning All-American Shayne Van Ness went down with a season-ending injury. Kasak has been outstanding at 149 pounds with an 8-0 record at the weight climbing to #12 in our NCAA Division 1 rankings. Kasak’s most notable win of the season came last weekend when he took out All-American Dylan D’Emilio, 7-1 during Penn State’s win over Ohio State. Kasak has continually improved throughout the season and has the potential to earn All-American honors this year for the Nittany Lions. 

How Will Kasak Wrestle In Carver-Hawkeye Arena?

Carver-Hawkeye Arena is known for being one of the toughest places for anyone to wrestle. Back in 2017, true freshman Mark Hall notably lost his dual debut in Carver against Alex Meyer. Though Kasak has proven to be an All-American threat this year, how will he handle the pressure of the Iowa environment?

Along with a hostile environment, if Kasak wrestles Friday night, he’ll be tested against a tough opponent in either Caleb Rathjen or Victor Voinovich. Rathjen is currently ranked #15 and has been manning the 149-pound spot for the Hawkeyes after winning the Soldier Salute over Voinovich. Beyond the win over Voinovich, Rathjen also has notable wins over #27 Drew Roberts and Anthony Ferrari but competitive losses to #1 Ridge Lovett (6-0) and #9 Kannon Webster (4-1, SV). Voinovich has recently wrestled in Iowa’s dual against Michigan and lost a tough, 4-1 bout to All-American Austin Gomez but was a national qualifier last year and made the round of 16 at the NCAA Tournament. Kasak is the favorite against either Voinvoich or Rathjen but it won't be a huge upset of the Hawkeyes come away with a win at 149.

Regardless of who Kasak wrestles in Iowa City on Friday night, it will be a great test for the true freshman. He’ll face a tough opponent in one of the most hostile environments in all of college wrestling. If he takes the mat, Penn State fans, and the rest of the country, will learn a lot about what we can expect from Kasak for the rest of the year.