With just 20 days remaining until the start of practice, we've been going over the lineups for some of the best teams in the country, and today we're taking a look at a Big 12 powerhouse.
Besides being a fictional band in a great movie, Stillwater is home to 34-time national champion Oklahoma State, the fourth-ranked team to start the year. The Cowboys will roll out a lineup featuring seven All-Americans this season.
It is incredible to think about the era of college wrestling in which we reside, one when a team can have eight All-Americans and finish third. OSU will be in a similar position this year and have some of the most exciting wrestlers in the country.
Oklahoma State Lineup125: #5 Nick Piccininni
133: #3 Kaid Brock
141: #1 Dean Heil
149: #13 Geo Martinez/Boo Lewallen
157: #6 Joseph Smith
165: #4 Chandler Rogers
174: Jacobe Smith
184: Andrew Marsden/Keegan Moore
197: #5 Preston Weigel
285: Derek White
We've already gone over the strength of Oklahoma State's lightweight situation. Piccininni went from the No. 8 seed to scoring as many points as a finalist who doesn't score any bonus. He starts the year ranked fifth and is in his third season in the program, which is when Oklahoma State guys typically make their biggest jumps.
Kaid Brock is the hometown favorite at Poke dual meets. One of the nation's most dynamic athletes on his feet, Brock's level changes, inside trips, and slidebys will keep him in any match. Watch the All-American's latest match in his rivalry with Mitch McKee below.
Dean Heil is on the cusp of hall of fame-quality numbers. He enters this season riding a 41-match winning streak, second longest in the country. Heil can end this year with three national titles and potentially have a winning streak that exceeds 70 matches to close out his career.
At 149 is Kyle Bratke's personal favorite wrestler in Geo Martinez. The Boise State transfer takes over for Anthony Collica, similar to the situation which will occur next year in Iowa City with Pat Lugo after Brandon Sorensen graduates. An eighth-place finisher in 2016, Martinez starts the year ranked No. 13. The dark horse option is if Boo Lewallen bumps up from 141 to challenge Martinez.
Joseph Smith has accomplished the rare and difficult task of being a two-time All-American entering his junior year, without the benefit of a redshirt. Check him out in the Big 12 semifinals below.
Pinners pin. Enter No. 4 Chandler Rogers, the guy most likely to throw you on your head at 165 this year. Nearly half of his 25 wins last year came by fall, some in big moments such as the Southern Scuffle finals and in the Iowa dual. His 24 career pins puts him in the Top-10 of active college wrestlers.
If you haven't familiarized yourself with Jacobe Smith, now might be a good time. This guy could very well end up being one of the newcomers of the year. A two-time NJCAA champ, he went undefeated during his redshirt last year with wins over Zac Brunson and Xavier Montalvo and a freestyle victory over Daniel Lewis (see below) en route to the University Nationals finals.
The 184lb weight is not yet decided and will come down to Andrew Marsden and Keegan Moore. They met at the Oklahoma Outlaw Open last year, with Marsden winning by pin. There will be a wrestle-off at some point to determine who gets the nod this year.
Preston Weigel sets up great for the next two years. A returning All-American, he starts the year ranked fifth and is only one of two non-seniors in the top 11 ranked guys. Weigel has one of the best cross-wrist tilts in the country.
The Cowboys' coaching staff will be bumping up Derek White from 197 to replace Austin Schafer. White was 18-9 last year, with his last two matches coming at heavyweight. The sophomore lost both of those, so John Smith and the coaching staff have some work to do to get their 285lb situation back to the level of All-Americans Austin Marsden and Alan Gelogaev.
While they don't quite seem to have the horsepower on paper to match Penn State and Ohio State, the Cowboys certainly are capable of scoring nearly 100 points and finishing with a team trophy.