2019-20 Prospect Rankings - NCAA
Jersey Represents Hard at 125
Summertime. Recruiting time. And the perfect time of the year to unveil our new set of prospect rankings. Like The Big Boards, prospect rankings lean less on results and more on our assessment, intel, and intuition...our opinion. But whereas the Big Boards go from 1 to 100 for all weights, prospect rankings take a look at landscape on a weight-by-weight basis. We feel this is a great way to make you think about who you'd rather have - this 133lber in 2020, or should you wait a year and grab guy Y.
Of course the basis of the Prospect Rankings comes from a very tricky thing - weight projections. They are never an exact science, and here at our first weight, they play a huge part.
Richie Figueroa is probably a career 125lber (as is Joey Cruz, Poulin, and Greg D.).
Robbie Howard and Trevor Mastrogiovanni have said they will likely begin at 125. But we think both will eventually move up to 133. So there is some give and take here.
If you're looking for Jakason Burks, Maximo Renteria, Jesse Ybarra, or Kysen Terukina, we have them projected at 133.
Howard and Mastro top our list, though Nomad advocates for Figs in the #2 spot.
For me, I opt for Howard and Mastro over Figs right now based on not much more than time. I think both will be factors at the NCAA level as soon as the 2020-2021 season as they are both ready and their schools can use them immediately.
Alternatively, Figs still has two more years of school and will perhaps have a redshirt in there as well.
Joey Cruz comes in next. I think he's a sure bet to be consistent and has proved his mettle at 113 and 120 whereas Poulin has wrestled exclusively at 106. Greg D., like Cruz, is probably a safe bet, but I have Poulin and Ayala with the chance to surpass his ceiling.
Watch Episode 51 of Who's #1: The Show discussing the lightweight rankings HERE.
TOP 10 NOTES:
1. Robert Howard - great combination of slickness and physicality. Volume scorer with variety of attacks. Terrific scrambler. The only wrestler on the list to wrestle 126 last year.
2. Trevor Mastrogiovanni - very strong and big at the weight. Excellent rider which will pay dividends at the next level.
3. Richie Figueroa - the last of the top tier here and very likely to lead the entire group in career NCAA team points earned at 125. For two years he's won the tight ones. I look for him to create a level of separation going forward.
4. Joey Cruz - relentless forward pressure causes his opponents all kinds of problems, most notably it shuts down their offense and forces them into mistakes as he cuts off the mat. Top and bottom game has improved dramatically as that was the difference in his win over Mastrogiovanni in January.
5. Stevo Poulin - among the guys he's ranked around, he's the toughest to handicap. I love his skill and technique which is as impressive and diverse as anyone at any weight in the country. And he does have a win over Ayala. It's just tough to know if he'll be as successful when he moves up to 113 and 120. I believe that skill translates across weight classes and that he'll be a star. Hence the high ranking.
6. Drake Ayala - best 3rd period in the game. Which, for me, is a pro and a con. Why does he start slow? Is he only effective when people fade? Will he be as effective in college, in March, when everyone is in peak condition? This is not to say he's a one-trick pony - far from it. He has technique and athleticism as well. If he starts improving his early-match scoring differential those questions will be answered.
7. Greg Diakomihalis - it might seem that Greg is a little low here. And truthfully, part of that is probably because we haven't seen him in quite a long time (Oct. S32). Between New York State's limited schedule and an injury that kept him off the mats this spring, we haven't seen him against elite competition recently. He's a fine career 125er and what he lacks in athleticism he makes up for with one of the best technique repertoires in high school. Where he falls in the pecking order here ultimately will be informed by how he performs at majors this fall.
8. Eddie Ventresca - we were waiting for Ventresca to break out and though it came later than anticipated (Beast '18), it was a dandy in which he beat Ryan Crookham in the top side of a bracket that also included Mastro. He went on to win a monster NJ 120 bracket but like Greg D., we haven't seen him since. He's an intriguing prospect that we need more data on.
9. Brennan Cernus - coming in as one of the most highly touted freshmen, Cernus didn't disappoint as he went on to win single-class Indiana. There's not a lot of data on him (he didn't wrestle at S32 or any majors this Spring and Indiana competes in a vacuum during the school year), but the results are among the most promising for current 2022's that project as 125's.
10. Jeremiah Reno - should excel as a career 125er after being ranked in the Top 5 or 10 at the lightweights for most of his high school career.
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