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2010-2011 Summer All American Predictions: 184

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by , 06-16-2010 at 02:45 PM (988 Views)
1. Kirk Smith (Boise State)
2. Quentin Wright (Penn State)
3. Dustin Kilgore (Kent State)
4. Chris Perry (Oklahoma State)
5. Joe LeBlanc (Wyoming)
6. Chris Honeycutt (Edinboro)
7. Mike Miller (Central Michigan)
8. AJ Kissel (Purdue)
R12. Steve Bosak (Cornell), Grant Gambrall (Iowa), Brent Haynes (Missouri), Jon Fausey (Virginia)

Unlike his teammate at 157, Kirk Smith came out and wrestled well at WTT's after receiving a wild card (including a decisive win over Quentin Wright) that made the order here much clearer for the time being. The fact that I had to wait until after WTT's to pick Smith here after a year where he went undefeated up until his NCAA finals loss in an absolutely cluster of a weight class really speaks to the fact that this guy is still pretty underrated. He's a guy who always seems very much in control of the way things are going in his matches. Not the most aggressive guy on the feet and that still shows when he has close matches every once in a while but when he pulls the trigger he's almost always able to get to his shots and get TD's. Askren worked him last year on the mat in the finals but that really isn't reflective of a deficiency on the mat for Smith as Askren did that to just about everyone.

Was desperate to try and find a way to justify picking Quentin Wright to win this weight class but what I needed was for him to have a huge WTT's and that just didn't quite happen. He's a guy though that has had a quality spring wrestling down in the University division as he will go to University Worlds winning a great three match final series against Mack Lewnes. Redshirted last year and by the look of him has done a great job adding the necessary weight to his frame in order to be successful. He's a guy who can get after you with big moves from his feet, he's especially good with a headlock or he can wrestle you straight up as evidenced by the five double leg TD's he got against Borschel two years ago in their Big 10 semi. He's also a guy who's very tough on top with his leg rides at both riding and turning. People can say what they want about Cael Sanderson's ability at coaching an entire team but he's proven to be indisputably effective at coaching individual upper weight wrestlers and I think he's found his next Jake Varner here in Wright.

Kilgore came out last year after facing disappointment at NCAA's as a true freshman and looked like he was ready to run away with the entire weight class as he had early wins over Pucillo and LeBlanc and generally ran roughshod over his opponents up until the Southern Scuffle. He hit a little bit of a speed bump there in the finals as he coughed up a late lead and wound up losing to Chris Honeycutt. That match showed the only real deficiency with Kilgore's wrestling as sometimes he gets a little sloppy trying to force his spear single or especially his unreal cradle series. He made the quarters at NCAA's before getting dumped into the consolations by Max Askren who seemingly allowed himself to get put in Kilgore's cradle just so he could reverse him. He wound up taking 7th in a match over Keddy which had to have been an absolute brawl.

Much like David Taylor, Chris Perry is a guy that I think has major league upside in terms of rising in placement from where I have him now. Perry has the added bonus of having the great pedigree with his older brother being a 4x Top 3 placer. Had a great year last season as a redshirt and built off that momentum by making the Junior World team for the second year in a row and having some big wins in the Senior division including continuing his apparent dominance over Quentin Wright in that style. Much more of a straight up technical wrestler than Mark was. Great single leg series that he's used during his freestyle matches, just gets in and finishes very quickly.

LeBlanc came out last year and built on the momentum that he established with his All American finish as a freshman. As I mention every time I talk about him he's a guy who has a great room situation with a guy like Mark Branch as his head coach. Doesn't wrestle the toughest schedule in the world, although it is getting better but he managed to crash the semi's last year at NCAA's after knocking off John Dergo in a great match in overtime. Wide open style, you won't see this guy involved in many low scoring boring matches. It'll be interesting to see if Branch is able to pass on any of his leg riding style as that could be something that could wind up helping LeBlanc out to sap opponents and then either turn them from top or let them up and go to work on the feet.

After the season that Honeycutt had last year while he redshirted he's a guy who I definitely may have underrated here coming in at 6th in this first edition. Coming off a Round of 12 finish two years ago (where he was eliminated by LeBlanc) he's a guy who wrestled a ton of matches last year as a redshirt. You seemingly saw him popping up at every open tournament of note with his best wins being over Kilgore which I already mentioned and over Wright. He's a guy who is built like a complete Mack truck so you wonder if maybe you see him move up in weight but for now he's here with the disclaimer that he could definitely move up through here. He's an aggressive guy but he's also very opportunistic as evidenced by the way he capitalized on every opportunity Kilgore gave him en route to winning their Scuffle final last year.

Miller had himself a rough go of things last year on multiple fronts. He came into the year as the defending runner up and seemingly poised to capitalize on the "runner up from the previous year becomes the undefeated 174 pound champion" precedent but then wound up losing his wrestle off to Ben Bennett. After splitting some time with him at the weight early in the year he made the move up to 184 where he had some early struggles as could be expected with his second move up in weight since entering college. He was just starting to get his feet under him before he separated his shoulder at National Duals against Kaleb Young which would keep him out for the majority of the season. He'd make it back in time to qualify for NCAA's just in time to draw Mike Pucillo in a pigtail match which he'd actually wind up winning. He wouldn't progress much further than that though as he would be eliminated without making the podium. With his health back and another year to wrestle around with a guy like Bennett I think he's a guy that makes it back onto the podium for the 3rd time as a senior.

Kissel is a guy who may have slipped from the minds of some people given the redshirt that he took last year and the fact that he wrestles for Purdue. Over his first two years he demonstrated that he had a very tough and exciting style. He was right up there with the national leaders in falls both years that he was in the line up. He had some issues though when it came to utilizing that exciting style that he had to beat higher level opponents especially strong guys with good leg attacks. I think the redshirt last year was a very good idea as it gave him an opportunity to clean his wrestling up a little bit which I think should allow him to achieve his first All American finish this coming season.