I wrote this on themat, and I wanted to post it here, too. it's a breakdown of how I see the Hawkeye line up likely ending up next year at NCAA's. As always, this is just my opinion.
Alright, let's break it down.
125: Interesting weight for the Hawkeyes. With Charlie Falck gone, it's likely to be filled by Nate Moore, JJ Krutsinger, or true frosh Tony Ramos. Moore seemed to struggle with making the weight, but there are conflicting reports. Either way, I think the weight is talented for the future, and COULD sneak an AA,but probably scores a few points at NCAA's, but no AA. Unless it's Krutsinger, who is tough, but not really D1 AA material at this point.
Prediction: 2-2 at NCAA's.
133: Dan Dennis is the prohibitive favorite to start for the Hawkeyes. A grinder, he's showed heart throughout his career. He's a returning AA (7th place), but seemed to peak a little too early in the season. Either way, he beat last years NCAA champ (Gomez) as well as pretty much everyone at that weight not named Reece Humphrey. At NCAA's, though, most of those results were reversed. With Humphrey and Kennedy apparently moving up, I anticipate a better performance with one years experience under his belt. Dennis could be a champ, but it's a meat grinder of a weight.
Prediction: Mid AA to Champion
141: This weight is likely to be manned by either Joe Slaton or Dan LeClere. Either guy is tough, and has proved themselves to be tough wrestlers. LeClere had several wins over AA's, even though he had a terrible tournament two years ago. Slaton had a great tournament, but down at 133. The problem is that, year in and year out, this weight is just insane. I could see literally anywhere from not placing to winning the whole weight for either guy.
Prediction: Low to Mid AA
149: With Caldwell likely redshirting, I don't really see anybody that can beat Metcalf this year. If someone steps up, we'll see, but as of now, it's hard to foresee anyone challenging him seriously.
157: A huge question mark. We could see Ballweg again, or we could see a true frosh like St. John. I'll go out on a limb and say we see Ballweg again, and he's better then last year. But not that much better.
Prediction: NCAA qualifier, 1-2 at best.
165: This weight will be manned by returning NCAA third placer, Ryan Morningstar. It's a tough weight to predict, but Morningstar showed last year. Still, if he maintains a very defensive style, there is an outside possibility of him not placing, but really, I see him placing about where he did last year.
Prediction: High AA, possible champ.
174: One of the big disappointments of the tournament for the Hawkeye, Jay Borschel was a returning third placer who lost in the round of 12 to a wrestler he had beaten repeatedly in Steve Anceravage. I'm admittedly a bit of a Borschel homer, but I can't see him not placing again. I think he has NCAA championship possibility, but I think it's unfair to his competitors (and maybe disrespectful to call a returning non AA as champ.
Prediction: Mid AA
184: Phil Keddy seems to improve every year. Last year he showed he had improved enough to beat Mike Pucillo, and those two are just very close. Unfortunately, he ran into a guy who is just a terrible match up and got outwrestled by Doug Umbehauer not once but twice. Still, it's ahrd to see anyone but Mike Pucillo and Phil Keddy battling for the title. I'd favor Pucillo, but at this point, pick against Keddy at your own risk.
Prediction: High AA.
197: OH NO, IT'S CHAD BEATTY! Chad Beatty is a talented kid, and is really good on his feet, but he is always going to be just a little outhorsed. I could see him getting R12 or I suppose a sneaky low AA finish, but in all honesty, an AA finish here isn't likely.
Prediction: NCAA qualifier, 3-2.
HWT: This weight will be held down by Dan "The Man" Erekson. The kid just got better and better as the year went on, and he's a complete animal on top. He's also quicker then most, and is able to get quality takedowns. With another year of experience, he's on his way to a monster season. You might be seeing him on top of the podium sooner then you think.
Prediction: Mid to High AA.