2010/2011 Big 10 Wrestling Predictions: 174
by, 08-29-2010 at 06:47 PM (2628 Views)
Not a problem. Like I always say I enjoy doing these things.
Here we have a weight that due to one big variable (which I'll get to) became pretty hard to put together.
Jordan Blanton: I came into last year predicting Blanton to be one of the most improved guys in the country last year. Wrestling as a true freshman he's a guy who showed that he was strong and he was aggressive but wasn't always there in terms of technique. I'd dubbed him Phil Keddy v. 1.5. Despite my prediction for the majority of the year he wrestled kind of inconsistent. He was basically the same guy as he was when he was a freshman. Still very strong (even more so down at a lower weight class) still aggressive, still beat guys up, but still didn't win some of the matches that you thought he should. To his credit though he got himself up onto the podium at the end of the year spurred by two big wins over Ben Bennett. I like him to carry that momentum to a more consistent regular season and an eventual Big 10 championship.
Ryan LeBlanc: LeBlanc came out last year and was just stellar as a redshirt. 20+ wins wrestling all over the place and only one or two losses one of them coming by default to his teammate Paul Young in the MSU finals when I think (if I recall correctly) he defaulted in the match instead of taking a co-champion award so that Young could have the top step to himself. I think I may have him underrated here a little bit based off of his season last year. He's a guy who can definitely move up from where I've got him it'll just be interesting to see how he carries on against larger opponents.
Ethan Lofthouse: Lofthouse is a guy who comes in this year as someone who Hawkeye fans are really excited to see based off his redshirt results last year and his freestyle performances this spring. Last year he announced himself when he split matches with Scott Glasser at the UNO tournament and then while he didn't really have a headline win like that over the rest of the year he continued to wrestle well. This spring he won FILA Juniors in a bracket that included both his teammate St. John and David Taylor. He seemed well on his way to making the Junior World team before becoming Conrad Polz's final victim during his great upset run. Has a nice little preexisting rivalry dating back to high school with Ed Ruth so it should be interesting to see those two renew that during the course of this coming year.
Justin Zeerip: Zeerip was much improved last year after getting the move up in weight that he desperately needed after a wildly inconsistent freshman year. He's not going to be a guy who wows you or really blows people away he just grinds away at his opponents and last year was able to just win.
Curran Jacobs: Unfortunately like most of Michigan State's roster Jacobs is a guy who I don't really know a ton about.
Scott Glasser: That variable that I spoke about earlier, Mr. Scott Glasser is it. Based off the stretch from his second match at the Southern Scuffle (first consolation match after losing to Moricone) up until his first round match at NCAA's (where he'd lose to Jarion Beets) where he went 21-3 putting up numerous quality wins and only losing to Jay Borschel I could very easily pick him to win the conference here and have it be eminently justifiable. The only thing that is stopping me is the fact that I wonder if he can stay healthy again for a long enough period of time in order to go on a similar run like that one. If he's able to do that he's got as good a shot as anyone in the entire country to be the guy standing across from Mack Lewnes next March and I certainly hope he's able to. As it is I've got him 3rd now based off of those concerns and the fact that I think the young guys who I've already talked about break out this year.
Brian Roddy: Roddy was a guy who came out last year as someone who I was really interested to see based off his pedigree coming out of high school but he had some issues. He wound up around .500 for the year. The possibility is definitely there for him to move up through the middle ranks here at this weight.
Nick Heflin: I feel like I may be missing something here with Heflin as he's the one Ohio State new guy who I've never really heard of or seen any results for.
Ed Ruth: Like Glasser and his health, Ed Ruth has one big variable that will really affect how his season plays out. He is going to be a very large 174 pounder. He spent all of last year wrestling at 184 in Opens and even this spring in freestyle he spent some or all of his time wrestling up at 84 kilos. If he's able to keep his weight under control the sky really is the limit for him here. Great pedigree coming out of Pennsylvania and then spending his senior year at Blair. Strong, athletic. Then he has an unreal room situation with guys like Kemerer, Quentin Wright, Troy Letters, Jake Varner, and not to mention Cael Sanderson in the room every day. If I recall correctly he's actually got the edge in terms of record in his rivalry with Lofthouse so like I said it should be fun to see those two.
Luke Manuel: Those of you who have been around here long enough know that one of the phrases that I like to beat into the ground (others may include ________ is a guy, and announced himself) is "sneaky good" and Luke Manuel is a guy who last year really epitomized the term sneaky good. Moving up after a pretty inconsistent sophomore year (and I wound know given that I had him on my Fantasy team) he was 36-2 going into Big 10's last year. Go back and look at that record again. Purdue doesn't wrestle the greatest schedule in the world but he was beating good wrestlers over that stretch including a couple of wins over Colby Covington and a pair over Blanton.
Ben Jordan: Maybe the most interesting guy in terms of possible results in the entire weight class. Steps way up here to 174 after a redshirt year, he was down at 157 for the Badgers as a true freshman where he was decent but I don't know if he performed up to the level of what people thought and he certainly could have been over shadowed by the NCAA runner up performance of fellow true freshman Andrew Howe that same season. The situation that he has in his room with Howe, Donny Pritzlaff, and Jared Frayer coupled with the family that he comes from leaves him as someone who could definitely be a sleeper at this weight. Like LeBlanc the one thing you wonder about though is an adjustment wrestling against these larger athletes.
Jordan Blanton: It makes it sound so easy to say all he needs to do is clean up his technique a little bit but that literally is all that he needs to do. Like I said before he's strong, he's quick, and he's got a great mind set to be a dominating successful wrestler at this level. The All American finish at the end of the year last year gives him some momentum to build on coming into this year. Even if his technique doesn't clean up the confidence boost that he gleans from that should be enough to carry him through to another good year.
Ethan Lofthouse: It'll be him or Ruth. The fact that you know Lofthouse has his weight under control (to the point that he was able to make 163 this summer) leads me right now to think that its going to be him. Definitely has some big shoes to fill in NCAA champion Jay Borschel but I think he's able to pull it off.
Jordan Blanton v. Ethan Lofthouse
1. Jordan Blanton
2. Ethan Lofthouse
3. Scott Glasser
4. Luke Manuel
5. Ed Ruth
6. Ben Jordan
7. Ryan LeBlanc
8. Justin Zeerip
9. Brian Roddy
10. Nick Heflin
11. Curran Jacobs
NCAA Qualifiers: Blanton, Lofthouse, Glasser, Manuel, Ruth, Jordan, LeBlanc, Zeerip