As we head into the 22'-23' season, it's no secret to anyone that making a DI varsity line-up is one of the most challenging things one can do in collegiate wrestling. There are a lot of absolute studs this season that will be backups. There are also a lot of very talented wrestlers who will be redshirting this season as well.
As you read this, keep in mind this will be a part one. I'll most likely end up doing a part II probably around the end of January after some of our major in-season tournaments are over. I know it drives some nuts & I've received grief for it for over twenty years, but I never say anything about true-freshmen until I've seen them compete at the collegiate level. A guy can be an absolute killer on the high school mats & have all the potential in the world, but I gotta see him against the collegiate field before I say much about him. I know some pull their head out of their head with me saying that, but it's a rule I've lived by nearly my entire time as a wrestling fan & I will stick with it till the day I die.
With that out of the way a color code
Red for Redshirt
Blue for Backup
He ain't beating RBY for the starting spot. We can all agree to that right? Nonetheless, David Evans is still a stud. 11-4 on the season, he defeated NCAA qualifiers Josh Koderhandt of Navy & Sid Flores of Air Force last season>
|Donovan Ball |
Aaron Brooks ain't getting shoved out of his spot at 184 anymore than RBY is at 133. Nevertheless Donovan Ball is an extremely tough backup. Among his victories last season, A.J. Burkhart of Lehigh.
I'm not even sure if Seth Nevills is wrestling this season or not, but if he is, you have to include him as one of the best HWT backups in all of NCAA DI wrestling. Matter of fact, I still say he gives Greg Kerkvliet fits in the room & makes him EARN his varsity spot. Among Nevills victories, All American Tate Orndorff of Ohio State.
In the room with one of the nation's lbs for lbs best wrestlers, Drake Ayala has already shown us how good he is & how much we can look forward to him in the 23'-24' season. Devin Schroder of Purdue, Michael DeAugustino of Northwestern, Malik Heinselman of Ohio State, we have ourselves a future AA.
A tough redshirt for the Tigers this season, Josh Edmond took runner-up honors at least year's Southern Scuffle.
Maybe I should have put OR here instead, but I don't see Ellis Pfleger upending Peyton Mocco for the starting spot. I really don't. Nevertheless, Pfleger is a very tough backup. He pinned Iowa's Brennen Swafford last season.
Behind All American Michael McGee, Julian Chlebove would be an NCAA qualifier quite a few other places. Among his notable victories a 16-3 major decision over NCAA qualifier Sid Flores of Air Force.
Pat McKee has himself a very nice backup in Jager Eisch at Minnesota. Among his notable victories thus far, Liam Cronin by major decision 8-0.
Another really tough backup on the Golden Gopher lineup is Jared Krattiger. NCAA qualification material in his own right, wins over Cal Valencia of Arizona State & Albert Urias of CSU-Bakersfield.
You know what? Screw it! When I first started putting my previews together, I thought LaJoie was going 133 lbs. No offense, but I did not see him defeating Arujau. Now that I know he's going 125, he will most certainly contend with Greg Diakomihalis for the spot. LaJoie is a two time NCAA qualifier.
To be quite frank I was shocked to see Reece Witcraft still on the Cowboy lineup for this season. Shows loyalty & commitment, as well as a belief in himself. I admire that. It's a rare find in our transfer-happy society these days. Nonetheless Mastrogiovanni seems too tall an order to complete at the moment. Nonetheless, an NCAA qualifier in 2020, Witcraft has wins over All American Taylor LaMont of of Wisconsin as well as Anthony Madrigal of Oklahoma.
North Carolina State
Beating out Ryan Jack probably won't happen for Hunter Lewis this season, but still what a tough backup. Among his victories, a first period fall over four time SOCON (likely to be the SOCON's first 5 timer) Jonathan Millner of Appalachian State.
North Carolina State
Here's another member of the Pack who is an extremely tough backup. Knocking off Trent Hidlay this season isn't going to happen, but here's a preview of what Delsignore is capable of. 20-8 on the season, wins over Chris Kober & Levi Hopkins both of Campbell.
North Carolina State
Behind Isaac Trumble, Christian Knop is another tough hombre for the Wolfpack. Among his victories, Chris Kober of Campbell.
Luke Luffman a two time NCAA qualifier for the Fighting Illini was 3rd at the Mat Men Open last season.
Joey Olivieri will be redshirting for the Scarlet Knights this season. He was 22-4 on the season last year, an NCAA qualifier & 5th at the Mat Men Open.
Another tough Scarlet Knight that will be redshirting this season is John Poznanski. An All American in 2021, he qualified for the NCAA championships on a 20-8 record last season.
I don't see him defeating Sean Carter for the starting spot, but nevertheless Ethan Oakley is a tough backup for the Mountaineers. He was 8th at the Southern Scuffle last season.
MAC runner-up Ben Smith will be redshirting for the Vikings this season.
Are there more? Most certainly! I try and think of everyone I can, but I always miss some!