NCAA Prospect Rankings

Make 197 Great Again

For years, 197 was a weight in which guys who did not place at 184 could bump up and make or even win the NCAA finals. Well, that time may soon be coming to an end.

The top two are undeniably blue-chippers and heading to the nation's top two college programs. Gavin Hoffman gets the slight edge on Michael Beard due to his win in October at Who's #1, as well as being younger than Beard. Remember though that Beard is grayshirting next season and won't be with Penn State until the 2019-20 season. It is likely Hoffman redshirts next year at Ohio State.

At #3 and #4 are two sophomores that we anticipate will bring about the same sort of debates that Hoffman and Beard inspired before they met in the Snakepit. AJ Ferrari, a Fargo and Ironman champ out of Allen High School in Texas will soon be a fully grown 197. Meanwhile, it appears Braxton Amos, also a Fargo and Ironman champ, will be trimming his body down to 197 for college.

FloNats champ Jacob Cardenas made huge strides this year and wound up winning a state title for Bergen Catholic in single-class New Jersey. He has some of the best re-attacks of any high school upperweight right now. Two North Carolina commits come next, with senior Brandon Whitman from Michigan and junior Devin Winston from Missouri.

Youngsters Kyle Haas of Kansas and Gaige Garcia of Pennsylvania will also likely be taking the 195lb high school ranks sooner than later.

Watch Willie and Nomad discuss the 197-pound prospect rankings on episode 16 of Who's #1: The Show.

Please remember that these are prospect rankings and not the same as the high school weight class rankings. Wins and losses play a part, but this is more about the long-term potential for these young men. If you have any questions or concerns, please DM @wrestlingnomad on Twitter or email me at

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