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: 165 PoundsYou can find our redshirt reports on other weights here:
125 | 133 | 141 | 149 | 157 | 174
Tom and Terry Brands pulled off quite the coup when they got the No. 3-ranked wrestler from the 2016 High School Big Board to commit to wrestle for the Hawkeyes. Alex Marinelli was one of the most sought-after recruits from legendary high school blue-chip factory St. Paris-Graham in Ohio.
Alex Marinelli, Iowa
Marinelli backed up the hype his redshirt year with a fourth-place finish at the Midlands, losing only to Anthony Valencia and Isaiah Martinez and notching wins over three 2017 NCAA qualifiers. Marinelli also advanced to the finals of the Junior Freestyle U.S. Open before getting stopped by the reigning junior world champ, Mark Hall.
Iowa already has a pretty good 165-pounder in NCAA qualifier Joey Gunther, who will have sophomore eligibility next season. The 174 weight class does open up with the graduation of Alex Meyer, but, as we'll see in the next redshirt report, there is another young Hawkeye coming off redshirt gunning for that spot as well by the name of Kaleb Young. So Iowa finds itself in not unfamiliar territory for this program in having more worthy wrestlers than weight classes.
You can see Marinelli demonstrate his freestyle skills as he makes short work of Jeremiah Kent in the U.S. Open quarterfinals in the video below.
David McFadden, Virginia TechRecently promoted head coach Tony Robie will be counting on David McFadden to make up for the points lost by the departure of All-Americans Joey Dance, Sal Mastriani, Zach Epperly, and Ty Walz from the lineup. Luckily for Robie and and the rest of the Hokies faithful, McFadden was a sixth-place finisher at the 2016 NCAAs as a true freshman and has spent the last year honing his skills on redshirt.
McFadden finished the season with an 18-2 record. The New Jersey native also placed fifth at the U.S. Open in a stacked 74kg junior freestyle bracket last weekend in Las Vegas.
McFadden had to beat Minnesota-bound recruit Jake Allar twice on his way to his fifth-place U.S. Open medal. You can watch him and Allar put up a combined 28 points on the scoreboard in their quarterfinal slugfest in the video below.
Daniel Bullard, North Carolina StateBullard is coming off redshirt and entering a crowded middleweight field for the Wolfpack. Daniel's brother, Thomas, and fellow redshirt freshman Hayden Hidlay will be battling for the job at 157. At 165, Bullard will have to wrestle off with teammate Brian Hamann, a rising senior and 2017 NCAA qualifier.
It is unlikely to be an easy task, but Daniel was the No. 43-ranked recruit on the 2016 Big Board and just wrapped up a successful year of deferred eligibility with a 15-7 record. Whoever emerges from the NC State lineup at this weight is going to cause a lot of problems for their opponents.
Joe Grello, RutgersAs one of the key pieces to Rutgers highly rated recruiting class of 2016, Joe Grello unfortunately did not have much of an opportunity to showcase his blue-chip talent, getting bit by the injury bug that plagued the Scarlet Knights' wrestling room after a mere four matches.
Grello was ranked No. 60 on the Big Board and is expected to win the starting spot for Rutgers at 165 next year, though he will have plenty of competition from the likes of Scarlet Knights returnees Willie Scott, Dylan Painton, and fellow redshirt Brett Donner.
Grello also placed fourth at last week's U.S. Open in the 79kg weight class of the junior freestyle tournament. You can watch his match against his Princetonian rival Riley DeMoss in the video below.
Gordon Wolf, Drew Longo & Ian Brown, LehighLehigh University has a logjam of NCAA tournament-qualifying caliber wrestlers at 165, with three contenders for the spot last occupied by NCAA qualifier Cole Walter. Though two-time All-American Mitch Minotti graduates to create some breathing space, it might actually get tougher on this particular Mountain Hawk ladder if Jordan Kutler moves up from 157 pounds as many expect him to next season.
It's also rumored that if Kutler moves up to 165, you could see an exodus of Mountain Hawks down to 157. We'll have to wait and see how head coach Pat Santoro resolves this enviable conundrum.
While it's very early to be speculating on how next year's lineups and weight classes will shake out, we'll do our best to highlight everyone who we think will be jumping off the bench and on to the starting squad. Below is a non-exhaustive list of guys to keep in eye on who may have their breakthrough performances in the 2017-18 season.
- Nick Knutson & Colton Clingenpeel, North Dakota State (Also co-winners of the redshirt freshman Name of the Year Award)
- Joe Velliquette, Penn
- Elijah Cleary, Ohio State
- Koltyn Eason, Edinboro
- Connor Flynn, Missouri
Did we miss anyone? I'm sure we must have. Sound off in the comments and help us out!