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: 149 PoundsYou can find our redshirt reports on other weights here:
125 | 133 | 141
Ryan Deakin, NorthwesternIf college wrestling fans weren't familiar with Ryan Deakin before this season, it's a good bet they'll be well acquainted with him by the end of this season.
Hailing from Broomfield, Colorado, Deakin had a redshirt campaign for the ages, announcing his presence with authority at the 2016 Midlands tournament by placing third in a loaded bracket. During his redshirt season, Deakin scored wins over the Nos. 11, 13, 14, and 16 seeds from the 2017 NCAA tournament. He also beat three other national qualifiers just for good measure. His only losses were to Brandon Sorensen, Steve Bleise, and Jacob Tucker. Deakin avenged his losses to both Tucker and Bleise later in the season.
Just to make sure folks didn't think he was a one-style wonder, last week in Las Vegas Deakin reeled of six straight victories to win the 66kg junior freestyle weight class, beating two-time cadet gold medalist Yianni Diakomihalis in the finals. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that Deakin is going to be pretty decent for the Wildcats next year.
Check out Deakin in the video below as he edges Diakamohalis in the U.S. Open junior finals:
Alec Pantaleo, MichiganSome serious hammers are taking of their redshirts next season at 149, and Michigan's Alec Pantaleo may be the most fearsome of the bunch.
The Canton, Michigan, native has already been to two NCAA tournaments, earning sixth place in 2016. Pantaleo will not have an easy path to the top of the podium, however, as he will have to get past Hodge Trophy winner Zain Retherford, among others, if he stays at 149 next year.
But at the U.S. Open this last weekend, Pantaleo demonstrated that he can hang with the best in the country. Although it was a freestyle tournament, Pantaleo finished fifth, beating highly decorated multi-year NCAA All-Americans Jason Chamberlain and Jason Welch along with the way. Expect Pantaleo to wreak havoc at whatever weight he ends up wrestling this upcoming season.
Welch finished his NCAA career with sixth-, fourth-, and second-place finishes. Pantaleo tech falls him in the first round of the U.S. Open in the video below:
Geo Martinez, Oklahoma StateGoe Martinez is, like Pantaelo, already an NCAA All-American, having finished eighth in 2016. Geordan made his way to Stillwater via Boise State, where he was a two-time NCAA qualifier.
Martinez will need to be at the top of his game to fend off the many challengers for the starting spot in the Cowboys lineup. There are a couple of sophomore studs by the name of Tristan Moran and Boo Lewallen returning at 141 who might be interested in bumping up. There is also fellow 149-pounder Jonce Blaylock, who Martinez beat last year in sudden victory at the Reno Tournament of Champions.
Below you can watch that Martinez Blaylock bout from the Reno TOC:
Though there is plenty of talent coming out of redshirt years, 149 is definitely a top-heavy weight class. Additionally, several wrestlers who rode the pine last year are still going to have a difficult time making the starting lineup due to returning starters blocking their path. With that in mind, below is a non-exhaustive list of guys to keep in eye on who may have their breakthrough performance in the 2017-18 season.
- Zander Wick, Wisconsin
- Gary Dinmore, Rider
- Cortlandt Schuyler, Lehigh
- Jacob Tucker, Michigan State
- Freddy Stroker, Cornell
- Kennedy Monday, North Carolina
Did we miss anyone? Continue to let us know in the comments!