NC State All-American Tariq Wilson (Photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
As we hit the midway point in August and the collegiate regular season is within arms reach, it's almost time for preseason rankings. While InterMat is in the preliminary stages of amassing national rankings, we've had to find out potential lineup information about teams all over the country. During this research phase, plenty of interesting lineup-related tidbits were unearthed. Some are well-known; others may not have been mentioned publicly, yet.
With so much to discuss and so many teams, we've had to break this up into two parts. Part number one covered team names (A-K), while this edition will include the remaining schools.
Some schools have not been included as they don't have significant/unexpected changes, or we are still working to find information regarding their team.
(Remember: this is still August, so information can change between now and November)
Lehigh: Like many teams, Lehigh has plenty of options at their disposal in late summer. Their NCAA qualifiers at 125-149 are all back and expected at their same weights as last year. However, veteran Brandon Paetzell, the seventh seed at nationals in 2020, is projected to compete at 133 or 141. There's also the chance that 133 lber, Malyke Hines moves up to 141. The Mountain Hawks will get a boost at 157 lbs from two-time EIWA champ, Josh Humphreys, who missed the 2021 season due to an injury. NCAA qualifiers Brian Meyer and Jake Logan are back at 165 and 174, respectively, but will get a challenge from top Class of 2020 recruit, Thayne Lawrence. There should be a lot of competition at 184 and 197. 184 could see any of JT Davis, AJ Burkhart, or Jack Wilt prevailing. Michigan transfer Gaige Garcia and, possibly, Davis will contend at 197.
Maryland: The Terps had a top-ten ranked recruiting class sign this spring, but for now, they could be headed for a redshirt. Both Zach Spence and King Sandoval saw time at 125 for Maryland in 2021, expect to see Spence there again and Sandoval moves up to 133. One key addition to the lineup will be John Martin Best at 165, who spent last year at the Air Force Academy's Prep School. He was a top-100 recruit coming out of high school. Another solid transfer for Maryland is their possible starter at 285 lbs, Zach Schrader. Zach was 25-5 for Cal Baptist in 2019-20 and 5-3 last year. A youngster that may crack the lineup at 174 lbs is Dominic Solis, who went 1-1 last year, but did not see action in any duals.
Michigan: There are still too many moving parts to really get into Michigan, yet.
Michigan State: It's still up in the air exactly where All-American Rayvon Foley may end up. He could go 125 lbs again, but 133 is also an option. If he moves up to 133, Tristan Lujan would be next in line at 125. Lujan has a redshirt available if needed. 2021 NCAA qualifier Jordan Hamdan stays at 133 if Foley remains down at 125. Hamdan could go up, as well. He, along with, Matt Santos and Jaden Enriquez, are in the mix at 141. NCAA qualifiers Peyton Omania, Chase Saldate, and Jake Tucker should be back in their 2021 weights. Four-time national qualifier Drew Hughes will not return, so Nate Jimenez and Caleb Fish should get a shot at locking down 174 lbs.
Minnesota: The Gophers have a "Big" decision up in the air.
Missouri: What a squad Mizzou has returning! All ten 2021 national qualifiers are set to return and at their same weights. The depth the Tiger coaching staff has begun to amass has led to more high-quality wrestlers in the mix for Brian Smith's team. Connor Brown (125), Josh Edmond (141), Sean Harman (174), and Colton Hawks (184) could start for most other teams and will still push for a place in the lineup. Don't be surprised if one or two ends up starting.
NC State: Unlike many teams, NC State was very public in announcing some possible lineup changes in the early spring, so this may not seem like "new" or "groundbreaking" information. The Wolfpack sent nine wrestlers to the 2021 NCAA Championships and only Daniel Bullard (174) isn't going to return. Nick Reenan may or may not, too. With the hole at 174, there will be some movement. There should be some combination of Ryan Jack and Jarrett Trombley at 133 and 141, possibly with Jack at 133. That movement will lead to Tariq Wilson moving up to 149. In turn, Ed Scott will go up to 157 and four-time All-American Hayden Hidlay will bump up two weights to assume the role at 174. If Reenan is not back, Isaac Trumble will be the guy to beat at 197.
Nebraska: A veteran Nebraska squad will undoubtedly be in the trophy hunt. Five super-seniors will return and assume their weight classes from 2021. The only real change for the Huskers will take place at 157/165. Peyton Robb went up to 165 last season and ended up with the #14 seed at nationals and a 2-2 record in St. Louis. He's set to move back to 157. That frees up a place for Bubba Wilson, who was 19-1 in 2019-20 while redshirting. Recently it was announced that Minnesota's 133 lb national qualifier Boo Dryden would transfer to Lincoln. He's expected to redshirt in 2021-22. Besides, Nebraska has depth at 133 as Tucker Sjomeling, Alex Thomsen, and Dominick Serrano are all vying for the starting role there.
North Carolina: The most significant addition for North Carolina was receiving the services of graduate transfer Kizhan Clarke from American. The last time (2020) Clarke was able to compete in a regular season, he earned the #15 seed at nationals. Clarke fills a void at 149 because 2021 NCAA champion Austin O'Connor is slated to move up to 157. With Kennedy Monday gone at 165 lbs, freshman Sonny Santiago should step in. Santiago was 4-1 at 157 last season, with his only loss coming via injury default. 184 lbs is expected to be handled by a Kane, but it's the younger one, Gavin, a top recruit from 2020. Gavin was 4-1 at 174 lbs last year. Also in 2021, Brandon Whitman saw some action at 285 lbs. He'll continue to compete at that weight going forward.
North Dakota State: The North Dakota State lineup may end up looking like you would expect it to look. No serious changes. However, one possibility is at 149, where Gaven Sax may emerge as the starter. Sax didn't get to see any mat time during his initial year in Fargo. A positional battle to watch takes place at 174 with Austin Brenner and Riley Habisch. Brenner won a one-point match between the two and ended up getting the nod in the postseason.
Northern Illinois: Like NDSU before them, we're generally looking at a similar lineup for Northern Illinois in 2021-22. The one big difference comes at 285 lbs, where Terrese Aaron is inserted since Max Ihry has graduated and will not return. Aaron was 10-2 in primarily open competition in 2019-20, as a redshirt freshman.
Ohio: Ohio-native Tommy Hoskins transferred back home from Oklahoma and will be in the mix to start at 125, alongside Oscar Sanchez. Aside from a possible new starter at 125, the other weight class to monitor is 197. Freshman Jordan Greer will have the opportunity to establish himself as "the guy" at the weight.
Ohio State: There's a lot of if/then associated with the Buckeyes lineup. Anthony Echemendia could go down to 133 lbs, a weight that also could feature Jordan Decatur, Dylan Koontz, and Will Betancourt. Echemendia also could stay at 141, which is where national qualifier Dylan D'Emilio returns. The Buckeyes signed the top recruit in the Class of 2021, Paddy Gallagher, who projects at 157. Gallagher could get the nod, initially. Tom Ryan hasn't ever been shy about using true freshmen. Now getting to the fun part. 165 could either be Carson Kharchla or Ethan Smith. Smith also could go 174 with Kaleb Romero. Now, Romero could end up at 184, along with Rocky Jordan. And, Jordan could go up to 197, along with Gavin Hoffman.
Oklahoma: A second Virginia Tech transfer in as many years is expected to contribute to the Sooners. This one is Joey Prata, a past national qualifier, that has the leg up on the 125 lb weight class. A couple of young kids could challenge Tony Madrigal at 133 lbs. They are Caleb Tanner and Oregon State-transfer Gabe Vidlak. Business as usual between 141-157. How about a double-take at 165 with national qualifier Anthony Mantanona down a weight. He's also joined by Rutgers graduate transfer Joe Grello. We can interpret that Greyden Penner should be ready to rock and roll at 174 lbs. There will be plenty of competition at 184 lbs, with Darrien Roberts/Keegan Moore/Talen Borror/Carson Berryhill all in the mix.
Oklahoma State: There always seem to be a few questions surrounding the Oklahoma State lineup and this year is no different. Rumors are that Daton Fix may drop to 125. That hasn't been set in stone. Trevor Mastrogiovanni (125) and Reece Witcraft (133) are the most likely options for wherever Fix is not. Though talented, Kaden Gfeller has missed significant time during his tenure in Stillwater. He could go at 149, but if not ready true freshmen Victor Voinovich and Travis Mastrogiovanni may get the nod. 157 also has some depth with Wyatt Sheets, Jalin Harper, and Penn State transfer Austin Boone. There's less uncertainty in the back half of the lineup with Anthony Montalvo at 174 as an additional option to Dustin Plott, being the only thing out of the ordinary.
Oregon State: The first year under head coach Chris Pendleton saw six Oregon State wrestlers qualify for nationals. That number could jump significantly as all six returns and THREE past NQ's have transferred in. Cory Crooks (149) and Gary Traub (285) fill potential holes. Tanner Harvey will help make a strength even more potent at 184 lbs. Harvey and Ryan Reyes could compete for that spot or Reyes could move up to challenge JJ Dixon. Other transfers that could end up helping out in 2021-22 are Matthew Olguin at 165 and Mason Reiniche at 174.
Penn: It's been more than a year since we saw Penn in action and that team should look significantly different. UWW Junior runner-up Ryan Miller is probably the guy at 125 lbs. That allows Michael Colaiocco, an #11 seed in 2020, to move up to 133. One of the Quakers most improved wrestlers in 2019-20, Doug Zapf, is expected to make another significant weight jump and move up to 157 lbs. With that, 2019 Round of 12 finisher Anthony Artalona can move back to 149. CJ Composto could round out the lightweights at 141. Another big weight jump could come at 165 with Lucas Revano. Revano was 18-15 in 2019-20 at 149. There are plenty of options between 174-184, but Nick Incontrera and Max Hale may get the first crack at those weights, respectively. As one may project, Cole Urbas and Ben Goldin are veterans handling the final two weights.
Penn State: Led by four NCAA champions, Penn State could threaten Iowa if the rest of the lineup falls in place properly. True freshman Gary Steen along with Baylor Shunk, are probably the options at 125. Some combination of Junior World bronze medalist Beau Bartlett, top 2021 recruit Shayne Van Ness, and Terrell Barraclough will handle 149. Joe Lee will move down to 157 to make room for Dave Schultz Award Winner Alex Facundo. Facundo has all the makings of "the next great" PSU star. Some of the biggest transfer news of the offseason included Max Dean moving to State College with the intention of starting at 197. He and Michael Beard will make for an interesting positional battle. Perhaps the biggest "new addition" would be a healthy Greg Kerkvliet at 285 lbs. He could contend for a national title, if so.
Pittsburgh: The ACC continues to get better and Pittsburgh has done so in the offseason and could threaten the teams down south for regular-season supremacy. Two transfers could plug potential holes (Gage Curry - 125 and Elijah Cleary - 157) and fortify the lineup. Curry is a three-time national qualifier and Pittsburgh native. Cleary has shown flashes for Ohio State, but hasn't been able to maintain that momentum in the rugged Big Ten. Incumbent Colton Camacho will not go quietly at 125, though. The other unsettled weight is 149 lbs with Luke Kemerer, Mick Burnett, and Dan Mancini.
Princeton: Time to "Get-In" for another exciting year of Princeton wrestling. Two mainstays will be back for the Tigers (Pat Glory - 125 and Quincy Monday - 157) and are capable of high All-American finishes. Some young Tigers will get the chance to shine at 133 with Anthony Clark, Nick Kayal, and Nick Masters as possibilities. Canadian Daniel Coles is an under-the-radar pickup and may be the answer at 141. That would allow Marshall Keller to go 149. Another uncertain weight is 165 with Grant Cuomo and Jake Marsh in competition. 184 has veteran Travis Stefanik, while the Tigers could go young at 174 and the two biggest weights. Nathan Dugan is a good option at 174, while stud freshman Luke Stout is ready to go at 197. Finally, Matt Cover may have the early upperhand at 285.
Purdue: Generally, the Purdue lineup is what you'd expect. 133 may be the only exception. Freshman national qualifier Jake Rundell could get a chance to redshirt, while Minnesota transfer Matt Ramos goes. As of now, we have Gerrit Nijenhuis at 165 and Emil Soehnlen at 174, but there's the chance that the two could swap.
Rider: The Broncs will have a new 125 lber since Jonathan Tropea is not expected to return. That lets Tyler Klinsky get a shot. Richie Koehler and Iowa State transfer Jacob Perez-Eli are the two options at 133. Perhaps the biggest offseason pickup for Rider was Ohio State transfer Quinn Kinner. He is expected to compete at 141 or 149. If he goes 141, it will allow McKenzie Bell to redshirt. With NCAA runner-up Jesse Dellavecchia in the coaching ranks, 165 lb national qualifier Jake Silverstein will move down to 157. After he drops, either Angel Garcia or Joe Casey could contribute at 165. 197 will have a familiar face as 2017 national qualifier Matt Correnti is back for a sixth year. Rider kept one of the state's top big men in-state with David Szuba. He's expected to go right away, while NCAA Round of 12 finisher Ethan Laird redshirts.
Rutgers: There's a lot to still be decided with Rutgers' lineup. Last week, news broke that three-time New Jersey state champion Dean Peterson chose to flip his commitment from Princeton to Rutgers. If he can make 125, he may contribute immediately. If not, Dylan Shawver will be back. Some combination of Sebastian Rivera and Sammy Alvarez will handle 133/141. Rivera going down to 133 looks like it may be the answer. Also, in the mix at 133 is Arizona State transfer Nick Raimo, who comes back home. A pair of second-year freshmen will be vying for the 165 lb starting job with Andy Clark and Connor O'Neil. With graduate transfer Greg Bulsak coming in at 197 lbs, we could see Billy Janzer at 184. 2021 All-American John Poznanski does have a redshirt available, but will they use it? The lineup could be rounded out by either Boone McDermott or Alex Esposito, but 285 is a weight with plenty of options.
SIU Edwardsville: No real surprises for SIUE. The biggest being 184 and 197 lbers Ryan Yarnell and Sergio Villalobos flip-flopping. Yarnell was 7-3 at 197 and Villalobos also posted a winning record at 184.
South Dakota State: Lots of changes possible for a South Dakota State team that returns five national qualifiers. One of them, Danny Vega (125), will not be back. He's expected to be replaced by Tanner Jordan, who won eight of 16 matches last year. NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Zach Price, is ready to jump two weights and compete at 149. That frees up room at 133 for either Trayton Anderson or Caleb Gross. The previous starter at 149, Hunter Marko, will move up to 157 and battle Jack Thomsen for the starting role. That means 2021 national qualifier Cade DeVos will be up at 174 lbs. Don't forget about 165 lber Tanner Cook, who had a breakout year in 2019-20, but was injured last year. Some combination of Cade King, Jacob Schoon, or Tate Battani will handle 184. Finally, transfer AJ Nevills will be an anchor at heavyweight and solidify the lineup.
Utah Valley: The Wolverines could be an interesting squad in 2021-22. A pair of transfers that barely missed the NCAA Tournament for Fresno State could be involved. Haiden Drury was 8-7 last year and picked up a win over NCAA #15 seed Mosha Schwartz. He'll be penciled in at 133. That moves 2021 national qualifier, Ty Smith, up to 141. The second FSU transfer is Hunter Cruz at 184. Cruz was 6-1 last season, but unable to compete at Big 12's. The big news regarding the Wolverines is that 2021 NCAA sixth-place finisher Demetrius Romero is set to drop down to 165 lbs. He'll make an incredibly strong weight class even deeper. Romero moving down opens a spot for Kekana Fouret, who was 6-4 as a freshman last year. Another useful transfer for UVU is Evan Bockman at 197. He was 4-3 for Cal Baptist last year, though all three losses came to eventual national qualifiers. Finally, Chase Trussell and Jayden Woodruff are returners that will both see time at 285 lbs.
Virginia: There are a lot of familiar faces in new places for UVA, but the one significant addition from outside the ranks is graduate transfer Jarod Verkleeren. The 19th seed in 2020, Verkleeren was in and out of the Nittany Lion lineup the past two years, but should help stabilize a weight that could have been an issue for Virginia. Returner Denton Spencer will also be in the mix. Since All-American Louie Hayes won't return, 133 may have been a problem, as well. No longer as 2021 national qualifier Brian Courtney will move down from 141. Taking his spot will be Dylan Cedeno, who went 6-1 in extra matches last year with his only loss coming via one-point to 2020 national qualifier Collin Gerardi (Virginia Tech). The Cavs will also flip-flop their 157 and 165 lbers. Jake Keating moves down to 157 and Justin McCoy will go up. A positional battle to eye is at 174 with national qualifier Vic Marcelli and past starter Robby Patrick.
Virginia Tech: The big news and it's not particularly groundbreaking is that the Hokies NCAA champion Mekhi Lewis will go up to 174. That leaves a void at 165, which freshman Clayton Ulrey try to fill. He was 6-1 last season and appeared in one dual meet. His only setback came to two-time national qualifier Ben Barton (Campbell). Stanford grad transfer Nathan Traxler gives the Hokies a podium threat at 285 lbs and allows blue-chip recruit Hunter Catka an opportunity to redshirt. At 197 lbs, look for Andy Smith to continue to develop and get the call. An ongoing battle for a spot in the lineup will take place between Sam Hillegas and Gerardi. Hillegas was a top recruit from 2020 that went 5-5 last season and has a redshirt available, while Gerardi was a starter in 2019-20.
VMI: VMI has quietly been going about their business and improving on the recruiting front. 197 lber Tyler Mousaw was an underrated pickup and nearly made the Big Dance as a true freshman. Now, the Keydets have a strong 1-2 punch of true freshmen at the front of their lineup. Two-time California placewinner Brayden Abell is expected to get unleashed from day one at 125. At 133 is New Jersey state sixth-place finisher Mike Tandurella. Job Chishko has posted winning records both years competing for VMI and is one of the team's top grapplers. He'll jump two weights to 165 for the season. Josh Yost is expected to take over the reins at 149. The move to 165 also signals that Jon Hoover will be at 174 lbs. There are a lot of young faces at 285 lbs, but it could be freshman Josh Evans that emerges as the guy.
West Virginia: The elephant in the room regarding the WVU lineup is that former NCAA #2 seed Noah Adams has graduated and will not compete. In his absence, junior Jackson Moomau should see the bulk of the action at 197 lbs. Moomau was 4-5 last year. Perhaps the top recruit in the Class of 2021 for West Virginia, Jordan Titus, could be the frontrunner at 133 lbs. It's unclear exactly where Lehigh transfer Luke Karam will land. He may go 141 or 149. Without Karam, Jeff Boyd (141) and Brayden Roberts (149) are the two best options for head coach Tim Flynn's team. The remainder of the Mountaineer lineup is about what you'd expect based on last year's returners.
Wisconsin: One of the team's that's used the transfer portal wisely, Wisconsin has continued to plug potential holes with proven talent. First is Andrew McNally at 174 lbs. McNally was an NCAA Round of 12 finisher and a three-time MAC finalist for Kent State. Another former Round of 12'er is Austin Gomez, who wrestled at Iowa State, like coaches Chris Bono and Jon Reader. Gomez initially was set to retire due to injuries, but has decided to give it another go with the Badgers. If he's anywhere near close to top form, it'll be a steal for Wisconsin. There was the assumption that blue-chip recruit Dean Hamiti would go right away at 157 lbs. Not initially, as incumbent Garrett Model will get the first crack at stabilizing the weight. A true freshman who IS expected to get unleashed from day one is Junior World Champion Braxton Amos at 197 lbs. Amos should rise to contender/favorite status at the weight immediately. The Badgers still have a lot to sort out at 149 and 165. Devin Bahr, Drew Scharenbrock, and Joe Zargo are in the hunt at 149. Joshua Otto, Tyler Dow, and Anders Lantz at 165.
Wyoming: Not a whole lot of changes to Wyoming's 2021-22 lineup. And that's a good thing. Their teams tend to be a little underrated and tough from top to bottom. From 141 up, it should be the same as you remembered from the 2021 postseason. 125 could see either Jake Svihel or Brendon Garcia emerge as the starter. Garcia saw some time in dual action last year, while Svihel moves down from 133. Returning starter Job Greenwood is back at 133. Though he did not qualify for nationals, he picked up two wins over nationals qualifiers in the extremely deep Big 12. He'll face some internal competition from North Carolina transfer Jordan Ward. Ward did not compete for the Tar Heels in 2021, but was 1-2 the previous year.