3x NCAA All-American and All-Jagger 133 lber Austin DeSanto (right) (Photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
Hey there Jagoffs and Jaggettes! Long time no see! A while back, I promised you the All-Jagger team and I intend on keeping that promise. Sadly, I wasn't able to catch much of the last day of the tournament due to some personal matters, and everything before that was a blur, so after some time off, I went and looked back to see which guys fit the criteria.
What's that criteria, you ask? I have no idea. It's mostly guys I enjoy watching and did something extraordinary to pop the crowd. In time, the members of the team will define what makes a Jagger Guy. Before we get started, I would like to thank all of you who reached out to me when I lost my little buddy. Your kindness and empathy to a guy who, in reality, you don't know or have never even met, has renewed my faith in people and the good deeds they do. You shared your stories, poems, and words of encouragement that helped see me through. Now without further ado, the 2022 All-Jagger team.
Maybe Pat's just not a Thursday guy. Perhaps he just likes to maximize his mat time. Either way, there's something to be said about going 12-1 on the backside in two years. Jagger Guy.
Say what you want about the guy. From his Vision Quest moment in the 2017 PA state final to his blistering start in college when he was getting three-minute tech falls, ADS has been appointment viewing. In an era where it seems that guys are in college for an eternity, his five years seemed to go by in a flash and I'm not sure I'm ready to say goodbye just yet.
Before he was a bonus machine at Jersey Mike's Arena, the man they call Seabass was a little minnow at Christian Brothers Academy who was too small to properly compete. No big deal. Rivera only finished college as a four-time AA at three different weights while beating three former or future national champs, including two wins over the great Spencer Lee. Throw in a Northwestern degree then becoming the face of Rutgers wrestling and I'd say he's left quite a significant imprint in the game. All-Jagger Captain.
What more can be said? Concussions sent Austin to an early retirement before we had a chance to see how good he could really be. Two years on the shelf and one transfer later and he's a Big Ten champion with two wins over a returning national finalist. I don't even know what his eligibility is anymore, but I hope we have at least two more years left of "Mr. Scared Money, Don't Make Money."
Knock out the returning champ on day one? Good enough for my team.
Simply my favorite wrestler. The guy looks like he'd rather be anywhere else but on a wrestling mat sometimes. Maybe he prefers the beach. Maybe he'd rather be on the golf course. Either way, all he does is make national finals and save wrestling programs in the process.
Simply my other favorite wrestler. My biggest regret about missing the end of the tournament was not being able to see Hayden's final matches and final goodbye. A great career for a great guy who did it the right way with a toothless smile. The impact Hayden will have in coaching will be immeasurable. All-Jagger Captain.
Yes, Charles may have been a victim of the numbers game when selection time came around. Luckily, I'm the only committee here. Something needs to be said about taking the long road and Charles did that by starting out at D2 Notre Dame College. Throw in a JUCO title at something called Northwest Kansas Technical College and the Bradenton Bull got himself a spot in the 2021 National Tournament, while being a leader in the revitalization of the Hofstra program under coach Dennis Papadatos. Fighting through that kind of adversity is the kind of thing that makes you All-Jagger.
It wasn't exactly front-page news when Greg transferred to Rutgers, but real ones knew that Coach Scott Goodale was getting a good, tough wrestler with one year left to get on the podium. When the smoke cleared, the Bullrider did exactly that with a punishing top game through a wild 197 weight class to earn AA honors and put his name in the Scarlet Knights record book.
Score on the Olympic Champ and possibly greatest heavyweight to ever do it in March? Yeah, that gets you on the team. 'Nuff said.