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: 285 Pounds
You can find our redshirt reports on other weights here:
125 | 133 | 141 | 149 | 157 | 165 | 174 | 184 | 197
Jordan Wood, LehighThere are more crazy-good heavyweights returning to the mat after a year of inaction than we can fit in this article, so for once we are only going to be discussing wrestlers who actually took a year of deferred eligibility and not folks who missed the season due to injuries or other reasons.
Jordan Wood definitely fits that bill, having spent the year competing unattached while attending Lehigh University. He compiled a 12-3 record, including wins over NCAA qualifiers Brooks Black and Collin Jensen.
Wood also finished second a couple weeks ago in Las Vegas at the U.S. Open in the junior freestyle tournament. Mountain Hawks fans should be excited to see the No. 20 recruit from the 2016 High School Big Board finally compete in the brown and white, as Wood takes the reigns from graduating round of 12 finisher Doug Vollaro.
You can watch Wood power through Minnesota's likely future heavyweight Rylee Streifel in the semifinals of the U.S. Open in the video below.
Adam Coon, MichiganPerhaps the pound-for-pound best wrestler to be featured in all of this year's redshirt reports, Adam Coon returns to the mats after a one-year hiatus as an NCAA title contender. He'll have a two-time champion and Olympic gold medalist by the name of Kyle Snyder to get by to reach the top of the podium next March, but Coon will start the season with as good a shot as any to unseat the current 285-pound NCAA titleholder.
Coon has a list of wrestling credentials longer than El Chapo's rap sheet, but to very briefly and incompletely summarize, he's a UWW Junior World bronze medalist in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, runner-up at the 2016 USA Olympic Greco-Roman team trials, winner of the 2015 USA University Freestyle championship, and a second- and third-place All-American at the 2015 and 2016 NCAAs, respectively.
Somehow, Coon also found time to major in aerospace engineering and earn the Michigan Academic Athletic Achievement Award.
It's OK to be impressed by Adam Coon.
One of Coon's first signature wins of his collegiate career was his true freshman year victory over defending two-time NCAA champ Tony Nelson, which you can watch in the video below.
Michael Hughes, HofstraLike Coon, Hughes took his redshirt season after his true junior year. Hughes made the NCAA round of 16 in 2016 and racked up 28 wins this past season wrestling unattached, against just two losses. Both of those L's came at the Southern Scuffle, where Hughes placed fifth.
Hughes has numerous victories over NCAA qualifiers, including a win over NCAA All-American Denzel Dejournette of Appalachian State. Hofstra head coach Dennis Papadatos could very well be coaching deep into April if Hughes matches the pace he set for himself last season.
You can watch check out Hughes' victory over Dejournette at the Scuffle in the video below.
Josh Hokit, Fresno StateHead coach Troy Steiner scored a big win for the phoenix-like Bulldogs program when they landed the No. 24 recruit out of California powerhouse Clovis High School.
Josh Hokit went 8-1 during his year of deferred eligibility and will be counted on to lead a Fresno State team that is taking the mat for the first time in over a decade. The California state champ will have his work cut out for him next fall but could very well be a postseason mainstay for years to come.
Matt Stencel, Central MichiganStencel's redshirt resume may lack marquee victories, but there are still plenty of reasons for Chippewa fans to believe the hype around the No. 18 recruit from the class of 2016.
It should be noted that the Fargo and Ironman champ was taking the opportunity afforded to him to grow into the 285-pound weight class, which is quite a bit more poundage than what Stencel wrestled in high school. The active big man from Ohio will have to first earn the starting sport over rising senior Newton Smercheck, but the folks in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, are justifiably excited to see what their blue chip heavyweight can do in a maroon and gold singlet.
Big things are happening in West Gym for Panthers head coach Doug Schwab, and heavyweight Carter Isley is an integral part of the plans to keep the momentum going at Northern Iowa. The 18th-place team at last year's NCAAs graduate its senior 285-pounder, JJ Everard, opening up a space for the No. 58 recruit from 2016.
Carter Isley, Northern Iowa
Isley compiled a commendable 24-8 record during his redshirt campaign. The Iowa native is also a high school state champ and Fargo All-American in both freestyle and Greco-Roman.
You can watch Isley take out NCAA qualifier Dustin Dennison at the perennially stacked Southern Scuffle in the video below.
Shawn Streck, PurduePurdue head coach Tony Ersland landed a "building block" heavyweight when the No. 29-ranked wrestler from the 2016 Big Board committed to being a Boilermaker. Streck is an Indiana state champ from Merrillville and decided to take his talents about 80 miles south to West Lafayette.
Streck was able to amass a 12-3 record while wrestling unattached at heavyweight, including notching several wins over Division I starters at the highly competitive Midlands tournament. Streck is expected to step into the lineup at 285 for Purdue and replace graduating senior Tyler Kral.
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, including (among others) the previously alluded to studs who missed mat time due to injuries but are very likely to challenge for All-American honors in Cleveland.
- Sam Stoll, Iowa
- Amar Dhesi, Oregon State
- Rylee Streifel, Minnesota
- Gannon Gremmel, Iowa State
- Ethan Anderson, Oklahoma State
- Andrew Dunn, Virginia Tech
- Michael McAleavey, The Citadel
- Michael Boykin & Mike Rogers, NC State
Did we miss anyone? Please let us know in the comments so that we may remedy the omission! And thanks for reading!