We've already taken a look at the top 20 teams ranked by order of returning NCAA points. Now we are going through each weight class and highlight every All-American returning for the 2017-18 season.
We will have a better idea of who will be taking redshirts and what weight classes they will be in as we get closer to the start of the season. Until then, here are our best guesses, though feel free to holler at us with any updates on those topics.
Returns 1 National Championship and 8 All-American honors125 won't be the deepest weight class next year, at least as far as returning All-Americans go. But it is the lightest weight class, which is typically the domain of younger wrestlers, many of whom vacate the weight class in subsequent years as they grow and pack on muscle. The weight class will also add some depth if Penn State's Nick Suriano returns fully healed from his late season injury.
Darian Cruz, Lehigh 7, DNP, 1, ?Cruz is the sole champion returning to 125. The Mountain Hawk placed seventh as a true frosh, took a redshirt season, and then lost in the bloodround his sophomore campaign before becoming the bold face name in record books last season. Cruz should anchor a very formidable Lehigh lineup next season.
Ethan Lizak, Minnesota NP, 2, ?, ?Like Cruz, Backpack Lizak had his star making turn in St Louis last March, making the finals before being felled by his old middle school nemesis (both Lizak and Cruz grew up in the Lehigh Valley). Lizak made it to the round of 16 his freshman season and will be one of the leaders of a very tough Gopher squad.
Zeke Moisey, West Virginia 2, NP, ?, ?It's been over a year since Zeke Moisey wrestled an NCAA match. The talented Mountaineer blitzed his way to the finals as an unseeded true freshman in 2015 where he lost to Ohio State's Nathan Tomasello. Moisey won 26 matches the following year but was injured late in the season and did not compete in the Big 12 Tournament or NCAAs. Moisey took all of last year off to recover but will be counted on this season by Head Coach Sammie Henson and the resurgent West Virginia Mountaineers, though also don't be surprised if Moisey bumps up to 133.
Nick Piccininni, Oklahoma State 4, ?, ?, ?Long Island native Nick Piccininni had a very productive freshman season, winning the Big 12s and placing fourth in his first trip to the NCAA Tournament. Head coach John Smith will have Pich penciled into the top of the Cowboy lineup next year as they make their perennial run at a team title.
Jack Mueller, Virginia 6, ?, ?, ?Jack "The Texas Mauler" Mueller surprised a lot of folks when he busted out of the gate swinging in his true freshman season. Mueller placed second at the Southern Scuffle, third at the ACC Tournament, and made it to the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament before injury defaulting out of the next two matches to finish sixth. The Virginia Cavalier might take a redshirt next season, or bump up to 133 (or do both).
Ryan Millhof, Arizona State NP, 7, ?, ?Millhof placed seventh as a true sophomore in 2016 for the Oklahoma Sooners. The Georgia native then transferred to Arizona State and sat out the season on a redshirt. He will be an integral part of coach Zeke Jones' very dangerous Sun Devil squad.
Sean Russell, Edinboro NP, 7, ?, ?Sean Russell is another Georgian lightweight who also placed seventh at the NCAA Tournament as a sophomore. He appears to be staying put in Edinboro, however, as coach Flynn will be expecting him to anchor a still very young but talented team in northwest Pennsylvania.
You can watch Lizak get by Mueller in the semifinals of the 2017 NCAA tournament in the video below.
Did we miss anybody? Let us know! And stay tuned for 133 coming up next!