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  • Photo: Sam Janicki

    Photo: Sam Janicki

    Big 12 Transfer Portal Update

    The transfer portal has only grown in popularity and usage, as team building has taken on a new wrinkle the past few seasons. The portal officially closed on Friday, May 3rd and while plenty of wrestlers have chosen new teams, there are a number of impact wrestlers still weighing their options. 

    With that, here is what the portal movement for each Big 12 team has been along with the potential impact it may have in their lineup next season. Any wrestler still “in the portal” always has the option to return to their original school. 

    Arizona State

    • In the portal: Tristan Mascarenas (125), Corey Camden (141), Aidan Hernandez (157), Kyle Parco (149)

    Four-time All-American Cohlton Schultz briefly entered the portal this offseason, but later announced that he would be returning to Arizona State for his final season. Mascarenas has been a career 125lber and went 2-5 for the Sun Devils last season while filling in for Richie Figueroa. Neither Corey Camden nor Aidan Hernandez have wrestled a collegiate match yet. Kyle Parco is one of the biggest names remaining in the portal and has been in the portal since April 18th. The four-time All-American is entering his final year of eligibility and would have an instant impact at nearly any school. 

    Arizona State is deep at this weight, however, as young phenom Kaleb Larkin is projected at this weight. Larkin pinned ISU’s Zach Redding in 0:48 seconds in a dual while redshirting this season and qualified for the Olympic Trials by winning the Bill Farrell with wins over Jesse Mendez, Pat Lugo, and Matthew Kolodzik. Larkin went 1-2 at the Trials, with another win over Kolodzik. 

    Air Force

    • In the portal: Wyatt Hendrickson (HWT)

    Another massive name in the transfer portal is U23 World champ and two-time winner of NCAA’s Most Dominant Wrestler is Wyatt Hendrickson. He had a more unique situation as he had another year of eligibility due to COVID but was not able to use it at Air Force. After NCAA’s he was able to receive United States Air Force clearance and approval, and was allowed to seek another school to pursue a master’s degree and a final year of eligibility. So far he has taken visits to Oklahoma State and Minnesota, with rumors of visits to Michigan and Missouri in his future. In a recent episode of Baschamania he confirmed that his official announcement will come on May 20th. 

    California Baptist

    • Departures: Carter Schubert (165 - Oklahoma)
    • In the portal: Matteo De La Pena (165), Mahmoud Smith (184), Spencer Von Savoye (133), Max Acciardi (285), Kaiser Simpson (141)

    The Lancers have five wrestlers still in the portal, while one has already chosen a new school for next season. Smith, Von Savoye, and Simpson are all fellow redshirt freshmen in the portal. Carter Schubert was a top 200 recruit in the class of 2023 and went 3-1 last season in duals. He has since committed to fellow Big 12 school Oklahoma. Max Acciardi was also a top 200 recruit in 2023 and went 0-4 in duals at heavyweight. Matteo De La Pena was CBU’s starter in 2024 where he went 9-8. Frank Almaguer was the starter at 165 in 2023 and had solid wins over Izzak Olejnik and Giano Petrucelli but did not compete in 2024 and could be someone to look to return next season. 

    Iowa State

    • Additions: Evan Bockman (197 - Utah Valley)
    • Departures: Andrew Huddleston (165 - Maryville), Drew Woodley (141 - Grandview), Ramazan Attasauov (133 - Illinois), Jason Kraisser (157 - Illinois)
    • In the portal: Carter Schmidt (174)

    Iowa State has not been a team with many holes the past two years but has smartly filled any with strong transfers. Evan Bockman was a three-time qualifier for Utah Valley and due to two redshirts in key years, he still has one year of eligibility remaining which would be his seventh year of eligibility. He’s gone 1-2 at NCAA’s the past two years but has a number of ranked wins in his career. 

    The Cyclones depth took a bit of a hit in some weights as Ramazan Attasauov and Jason Kraisser weren’t starters in 2024, but both are former qualifiers. Schmidt, Woodley, and Huddleston are all seniors, with Woodley and Huddleston expected to start at their new schools. 


    • Departures: Clayton Whiting (174 - Minnesota), Ryan Boersma (285 - North Carolina), Korbin Shepherd (133 - Cal Poly), Sean Harman (174 - Oregon State)
    • In the portal: Brant Whitaker (165), Peyton Moore (141), Seth Nitzel (285)

    The Tigers are another team that lost depth to the portal this offseason, with six wrestlers hitting the portal. Clayton Whiting battled Colton Hawks for the starting spot at 184 this season but did not start in the postseason. He was 12-3 as a starter with three years of eligibility remaining and could potentially compete at either 174 or 184 for Minnesota. Sean Harman has also started in duals for the Tigers and scored quality ranked wins, but is headed back to his home state of Oregon for his final season. Korbin Shepherd and Ryan Boersma struggled with injuries at Missouri but were top 70 recruits out of high school. 

    Brant Whitaker and Peyton Moore both competed in open tournaments last season but did not start. Seth Nitzel was the expected starter for 2024 at heavyweight after redshirting last season and has wins over national qualifiers in his career. With Wyatt Hendrickson supposedly having a Missouri visit scheduled, this is a name to keep an eye on. 

    North Dakota State: 

    • Additions: Devin Wasley (184 - Minnesota)
    • Departures: Gaven Sax (174 - Oklahoma), Fernando Barreto (133 - Oklahoma), Spencer Mooberry (285 - Northern Illinois), Walker Bents (Minnesota St-Mankato), Zane Licht (165 - Wartburg)
    • In the portal: Macray Klohs (197), Lathan Duda (197), Amantee Mills (133), Mason Gode (174), Devon Dawson (285), Pedro Velazquez (149), Sean Solis (141), Carlos Negrete Jr. (125), Landon Johnson (157), Trate Thilmony (149), Tanner Gerber (149)

    It doesn’t look like any school has been hit harder than NDSU in the past two seasons. They’ve got a whopping 11 wrestlers still in the portal, with five committed elsewhere. Gaven Sax and Fernando Barreto have both committed to Oklahoma with former NDSU head coach Roger Kish. Sax and Barreto are joined by Spencer Mooberry, Devon Dawson, and Landon Johnson as starters from last season in the portal. 

    The team still has several returning young wrestlers who could make an impact next season at various weights. They also have a large recruiting class coming in, with four wrestlers in the top 200. If a handful of the wrestlers in the portal return then the Bison could still be in solid shape next season. 

    Northern Colorado: 

    • Additions: Clayton Ulrey (165 - Virginia Tech)
    • Departures: Branson Britten (184 - Little Rock), Xavier Doolin (285 - Morgan State), Damen Pape (184 - Northern State University)
    • In the portal: Andrew Alirez (141), Eyan Chavez (141), Andrew Blackburn- Forst (285)

    The Big 12 has a number of high-profile transfers this season, but none are bigger than Andrew Alirez. After going undefeated with a national title in 2023, the Greeley native took an Olympic redshirt year. He had freestyle success with a Senior Nationals title, but lost in the semifinals at the Olympic Trials. He has one year of eligibility remaining and could go at 141 or 149. In a recent Greeley Tribune article Alirez says that “All offers are on the table” with rumors and offers swirling, including staying at Northern Colorado. He did not list a potential commitment date. 

    Northern Colorado made a solid addition with senior Clayton Ulrey, a four-year wrestler at Virginia Tech who started at 165 in 2022. He has spent the past two seasons at 157, but could potentially move up with Vinny Zerban currently projected there. Britten and Doolin were both starters in 2024 but did not qualify. 

    Northern Iowa: 

    The Panthers have had a quiet offseason, with no one entering or leaving in the portal. 

    Oklahoma State: 

    • Additions: Caleb Fish (165 - Michigan State), Dean Hamiti (174 - Wisconsin)
    • Departures: Sammy Alvarez (149 - Rider)

    After getting three impact starters from the portal last season the Cowboys already have two more with Caleb Fish and Dean Hamiti. They both have one year of eligibility remaining along with a redshirt which could create some interesting lineup choices as both are career 165lbers. Fish is a three-time qualifier who made the round of 16 last season and the bloodround in 2023 while Hamiti is a two-time All-American who finished in the bloodround in 2024. If both get in the lineup this year, look for Hamiti at 174 as he went 3-0 at that weight in duals for Wisconsin last season. OK State has also had a visit with Wyatt Hendrickson plus rumors about Andrew Alirez. 

    Even with a new head coach in David Taylor, the team impressively has only one wrestler who left this offseason. After a midseason transfer from Rutgers in 2023, Alvarez went back and forth with Jordan Williams this season, but Williams locked up the spot into the postseason. With Coach Taylor leading the way and significant financial support, I expect the Cowboys to be a popular destination list for wrestlers in the portal. 


    • Additions: Gaven Sax (174 - NDSU), Carter Schubert (165 - CBU), Fernando Barreto (133 - NDSU)
    • In the portal: Gerrit Nijenhuis (174), Jared Hill (157)

    Oklahoma got strong additions with returning Big 12 finalist Gaven Sax reuniting with former head coach Roger Kish. Sax broke out this past season and will be an interesting addition with last year’s starter Tate Picklo there. Picklo was 2-1 against Sax last season, but was pinned in their last match at the Southern Scuffle. Barreto started for NDSU last season and missed on qualifying, but could end up in another starting spot with the Sooners, who used transfer Jace Koelzer at this weight last season. Schubert, like Sax, is coming into a weight with a solid starter in Cael Carlson, but could be in a lineup battle. 

    Nijenhuis is a three-time qualifier who transferred to Oklahoma from Purdue, where he qualified twice at 165 and 174. After a solid 16-9 season at 165 in 2023, Nijenhuis went back to 174 for most of the season but lost to Picklo in overtime at the Reno Tournament of Champions. He won a match against South Dakota State at 165 in February, but did not compete again that season. Jared Hill was a two-time qualifier for the Sooners and had to win the spots in both years, managing to get hot late in the year to qualify for NCAA’s as well. He has taken visits to California Baptist and Little Rock publicly so far. Both wrestlers could be quality starters and potential qualifiers for any school they end up at. 

    South Dakota State: 

    The Jackrabbits had no wrestlers enter the portal or make any additions this offseason. 

    Utah Valley: 

    • Additions: Tanner Frothinger (141 - Nebraska)
    • Departures: Evan Bockman (197 - Iowa State)

    Another Big 12 school with a new head coach, Adam Hall has done an excellent job maintaining most of the roster. They did lose Evan Bockman, who had just one year of eligibility and was a graduate transfer. So far the Wolverines have added one wrestler in redshirt freshman Tanner Frothinger. The Idaho native wrestled in opens while redshirting this past season. 

    West Virginia: 

    • Additions: Tommy Maddox (133 - Buffalo)

    West Virginia was one of the most improved teams last season and made a quality addition with Tommy Maddox. A senior who spent the past two seasons starting for Buffalo, he hasn’t qualified yet but has a handful of ranked wins while competing in the MAC. The Mountaineers have struggled at this weight the past couple of seasons so Maddox looks like he could be a solid upgrade. 


    • Additions: Sam Mitchell (197 - Buffalo)
    • Departures: Brayden Sonnentag (141 - MSU Mankato)

    The coaching change at Buffalo sent a lot of Bulls wrestlers to the portal. One of their NCAA qualifier, Sam Mitchell, headed out west to Wyoming. Provided he stays at 197 lbs, he gives the staff the flexibility to redshirt NCAA qualifier Joey Novak, while having a strong competitor at the weight.

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