We're going to take a deep dive into each NCAA weight class and review all the returning studs who didn't start this past year, whether due to taking a redshirt, injuries, or other reasons.
Now Up: 141 PoundsYou can find our redshirt reports on other weights here:
125 | 133
Kanen Storr, Iowa StateFirst-year ISU head coach Kevin Dresser will be counting on blue-chip recruit Kanen Storr to help anchor a revamped lineup, as the new-look Cyclones will have to replace seven graduating starters from the 2016-17 season.
Storr is an ideal candidate around whom to build a lineup, having amassed a 24-5 record as a redshirt freshman. While wresting unattached, Storr notched wins over NCAA qualifiers Colton McCrystal, Luke Pletcher, Russell Rohlfing, and Zach Synon. Storr also finished second at the junior freestyle division at the U.S. Open last weekend in Las Vegas. The No. 32 recruit from 2016 should make an immediate impact for the Cyclones.
Storr made it to the finals in a stacked weight class at the Open, as evidenced by this semifinal victory over two-time NCAA qualifier Pat Lugo of Edinboro, seen in the video below:
Chad Red, NebraskaCornhuskers fans are used to chanting "Go Big Red" at matches. Soon that cheer will take on extra significance, as the No. 8-ranked recruit on the 2016 Big Board is expected to make his varsity debut next season. Red had an outstanding redshirt season, going 19-3 and placing fourth at the Midlands. Red owns wins over national qualifiers Jack Hathaway, Cole Martin, and Russell Rohlfing, while only taking losses to Anthony Ashnault, Matt Kolodzik, and teammate Colton McCrystal.
That last loss will makes things interesting for head coach Mark Manning, as McCrystal returns next year for his senior season. The loser of the Red-McCrystal wrestle-off will likely have to go up to 149, which would potentially make Collin Purinton, whom Red also beat last year, the odd man out for the Cornhuskers.
Below you can see Red get the better of his Huskers teammate Purinton at the Southern Scuffle:
Luke Karam, LehighLehigh head coach Pat Santoro has managed the deferred enrollment of his lightweights with expert precision, as All-American senior Randy Cruz graduates just in time for Luke Karam, the No. 31-ranked recruit of 2016, to come off redshirt to step into the starting position.
Karam compiled a 20-9 record during his redshirt campaign, which included a win over two-time All-American Earl Hall. Karam should give the brown and white one of the best trios of lightweights in the nation alongside Darian Cruz and Scott Parker at 125 and 133, respectively.
You can watch Karam pick up a big win down at 133 pounds over Hall in the video below:
Carter Happel, IowaHappel, the No. 34-ranked wrestler on the 2016 Big Board, racked up a sterling 22-3 record during his redshirt season. But Tom Brands will have quite a few decisions to make as several young Hawkeyes vie for the starting spots at 141.
Rising sophomore Vincent Turk had a promising redshirt season the year before and might have been the Hawkeyes' 141 starter last year if it weren't for an injury he suffered early in the season. Brock Rathburn, Paul Glynn, and Danny Murphy also all wrestled matches at 141 last year.
Glynn and Murphy joined Happel at the U.S. Open last week, where Happel lost in the 66kg round of 12 to teammate Keegan Shaw, who spent last year wrestling at 149, a spot that is unfortunately for Shaw held on lockdown by three-time All-American Brandon Sorensen.
Happel took out Michigan State redshirt prospect Jwan Britton at the Open, which you can see in the video below:
Ke-Shawn Hayes, Ohio StateInjuries threw a monkey wrench into OSU head coach Tom Ryan's plans for 2017. Redshirt freshman Ke-Shawn Hayes suffered a season-ending injury in November 2016, forcing Ryan to pull Luke Pletcher out of his redshirt and bump him up from 133 to plug the hole in the Buckeyes lineup.
Ohio State is undoubtedly a stronger team with a healthy Hayes back in business, but the question now is what happens to Pletcher, and by the same token, senior Nathan Tomasello, who just finished third at 133 at the last NCAA Championship.
However the lineup shakes out, Ryan has a problem on his hands many coaches wouldn't mind having for themselves.
Vying with Ohio State and Iowa for biggest lineup question mark of next season is Oklahoma State, which has three potential All-Americans returning to wrestle 141. One of those guys is two-time national champion Dean Heil, which likely leaves Tristan Moran and Boo Lewallen on the outside looking in.
Tristan Moran & Boo Lewallen, Oklahoma State
Moran placed sixth at the Southern Scuffle and third at the Reno Tournament of Champions. Lewallen won the Reno TOC and lost in the bloodround of the Scuffle. They both beat 2017 All-Americans last year and are both rising redshirt sophomores.
It's possible that either could challenge at 149, but waiting to claim that spot is All-American and Boise State transfer Geo Martinez. I'm sure Oklahoma State head coach John Smith is doing what he can to keep both wrestlers happy and in orange and black singlet, but I'd also bet that there are more than a few other head coaches who wouldn't mind having either one on their roster.
Other names to watch out for who are looking to break into their starting lineups next year include but are not limited to:
- AC Headlee, North Carolina
- Tyson Dippery, Rider
- Brent Moore, Virginia Tech
- Michael Prieto, South Dakota State
- Sam Turner, Wyoming
Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments!