2022-23 Early Lineup Look: Oklahoma

2022 NCAA Round of 12 finisher Joey Prata (Photo/Sam Janicki;

The Oklahoma wrestling offseason has arguably been the most intriguing of any team in the Big 12 recently. Chess pieces have moved across their roster with multiple wrestlers transferring in and out and setting up a team that could look very different next season.

At 125, Joey Prata has decided he will return for a fifth year giving them an NCAA qualifier (Round of 12) and 4th place finisher from the Big 12 tournament back for one more season.

At 133, nothing official has been announced for senior Anthony Madrigal on whether he'll be utilizing his Covid year from 2020 and returning for one more season.
In the room currently, many have Caleb Tanner circled as the favorite to take the job if Madrigal does move on, but Mosha Schwartz (Northern Colorado) and Wyatt Henson (Iowa) were two blockbuster transfers for the Sooners this offseason. Schwartz is already listed on the roster as a 141, and that's also where many see Henson, but Schwartz was a 133 at Northern Colorado and Henson theoretically "could" make the cut.

141 was an interesting weight class for OU last year. All-American Dom Demas, who was the Big 12 Champion here in 2021, did not return to the weight. He took a bit of a backup role at 149, briefly, then eventually announced a transfer to Cal Poly. Jacob Butler had a bit of a tough regular season then blew up at the Big 12 tournament, knocking off the #1 seed and eventually qualifying for the NCAA tournament.
Schwartz or Henson will likely vie for this spot and take it over.

OU may have been the deepest team in the country at 149 last season. They started with Mitch Moore, lost him to injury, had Dom Demas take over for a bit before losing him to injury, then Willie McDougald took over the spot and ended up as a Big 12 finalist.

With both back, this next season and Justin Thomas, the starting 157 lber last season, exhausting his eligibility, the scenario that makes the most sense, is one staying at 149 and the other going up to 157 where they don't have the kind of depth they do at 149.

165 was the one weight that OU did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Joe Grello just missed out on an automatic bid and the grad transfer now moves on, opening the spot for a potential new starter.

Troy Mantanona closed out the season as the starter at 165 in 2021 and had a very strong Big 12 tournament performance that helped propel OU to a share of the Big 12 title that season. He could return to take that spot, but Alejandro Herrera-Rondon came into OU out of PA as one of the top recruits in the country in 2021. He wrestled last year at 157 in his redshirt season and could potentially stay down to try and win that job, but could also very reasonably go up to 165.

OU's work on the transfer market has been impressive the last few seasons with Moore, Prata and others. That continues this season with Schwartz and Henson, already mentioned, along with another huge transfer at 174 in Purdue's Gerrit Nijenhuis. Nijenhuis was a two-time NCAA qualifier at Purdue and slots in perfectly here for the Sooners. With the graduation of starter Anthony Mantanona, this was as ideal a pickup for OU as it gets.

At 184 Darrien Roberts, a starter in 2020 and 2021, returns after backing up Keegan Moore in the 2021-22 season. There are a few young guys that could contend for this spot, specifically Tate Picklo who could potentially cut to here. He's listed at 197, but competed at 86 KG at the US Open a few weeks ago. That will be an interesting one to watch if Picklo goes down.

197 I think could go two ways. Four-year starter and All-American Jake Woodley could return for one more season and retain his spot or Picklo could be up at 197, as he's listed, and take over what is almost certain to be his spot eventually.

Barring injury at 285, 2x NCAA qualifier Josh Heindselman will return to the starting spot here.


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