As far as I'm concerned this is a pretty wide open weight class. I've narrowed it down to who I think the top 12 will be by tournament's end & I have a good feeling about a few of the place-winners, but other than that, I think the possibilities are endless.
The returning All American is our top pick for the *1 seed here at the Scuffle. His wins against the competition include a 10-5 decision over Bailee O'Reilly, a 4-3 decision over Peyton Mocco, a 7-6 decision over Tyler Eischesn & he's defeated Triston Wills twice. 3-1 & a 2:45 fall.
Last season Peyton Mocco shocked the wrestling world when he made the Southern Scuffle finals. He won't be sneaking up on anyone this season, as he'll go into this tournament not only a hopeful to once again make the finals, but also a legit title contender. He owns a 5-3 victory over Dominic Solis, a 5-2 decision over Tyler Eischens & a 56 fall over Julian Broderson.
Rocky Jordan keeps on proving himself to be one of the best investments that the Mocs have made in recent times. Of all the home school participants, I would say he is the one with the best shot to keep a title right here in Chattanooga. Ironically enough, he hasn't faced anyone of significance in this bracket yet. Yet, he's a danger for anyone.
The Golden Gopher could go home with a Golden award by the tournament's end. Bailee O'Reilly is one of those guys that if you can get him going, he'll burn down the entire forest. 3rd here last season, he owns a 4-2 victory over Gaven Sax & a 10-3 decision over Eischens.
I've talked a lot about Iowa State in this preview and how they're making strides to be one of the top programs in the country within the years to come. Julien Broderson is a part of that process as he keeps on improving little by little. As Mocco was the surprise last year, Broderson could be the surprise this season. The Cyclone owns a 4-1 over Albert Urias.
Here is your darkhorse. Here's the thing about Tyler Eischens. He often doesn't enter a tournament as a favorite. In fact, he often enters one as you look at stats, results & probability, the opposite of a favorite. However, he somehow or another gets the job done anyway. I mean look at last year's PAC-12 championships. He entered with losses to everyone! Yet he walks out the PAC-12 champion! What does this tell me? That Tyler Eischens is as the late Steve Irwin would say, "DANGER DANGER DANGER!" to anyone he steps on the mat with. He was 8th at last year's championships.
Again, I just cannot get over the massive amount of improvements that are taking place in Terrapin country. Last season Dominic Solis ended his season with a losing record of 15-17. This year, he's already 5-0 & he's a candidate to bring home a medal at this year's Scuffle. Coach of the year honors are often solely reflected on NCAA team finishes, but if we really took a look at the embodiment of the entire season, Alex Clemsen is at least a consideration.
Here's another issue that I've talked about multiple times in my writing as well. For most of his career, Sam DePrez has lived in the shadow of his older, more successful brothers Vincent & Lou. Little by little he has slowly started to step out of their shadows & emerge as his own. For the first time in his career he has earned a ranking & some top quality victories. Now is the time to really step it up & make a huge statement by earning a top 8 Southern Scuffle finish.
Very good unranked talent, all of which can & will contend for a top 8 finish...
7th here a year ago, Andrew Berreyesa is the type of wrestler that on a good day can hang with absolutely anyone in this bracket. That is of course, if he's having a good day.
North Dakota State
Here's one that I'm very interested to see compete this tournament. Gavin Sax was 4th here last season a 149 lbs. Now up 25 lbs, it'll be fun to see how he fares. He does own an impressive 11-1 major decision over Wills.
A hope for the Roadrunners to put another wrestler on the award stand, Albert Urias owns a 10-8 s.v. over Eischens. He also has quite the feud going with Wills, owning two victories over the Trojan, 4-3 & 6-4.
Would love to see Wills have a great tournament. Again because I love seeing our most "southern" team have success & secondly because I love to have leverage when going on one of my long rants of how the state of Kansas should have a DI wrestling program! In his feud with Urias, he owns both an 8-1 & 10-7 victory. He also owns an impressive 10-1 decision over Berreyesa.