1. Tyler Graff (Wisconsin)
2. Andrew Hochstrasser (Boise State)
3. Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State)
4. Mike Grey (Cornell)
5. Lou Ruggirello (Hofstra)
6. Eric Grajales (Michigan)
7. Scott Sentes (Central Michigan)
8. Filip Novachkov (Cal Poly)
R12. Kelly Kubec (Oregon State), Michael Martinez (Wyoming), Nate Moore (Iowa), Eric Morrill (Edinboro)
1. Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State)
2. Andrew Hochstrasser (Boise State)
3. Tyler Graff (Wisconsin)
4. Andrew Long (Penn State)
5. Devin Carter (Virginia Tech)
6. Rollie Peterkin (Penn)
7. Lou Ruggirello (Hofstra)
8. BJ Futrell (Illinois)
R12. Tony Ramos (Iowa), Scott Sentes (Central Michigan), Kyle Hutter (Old Dominion), Filip Novachkov (Cal Poly)
I'd like to take time out at the beginning of this write up to pledge my sincere apology to Mr. Jordan Oliver for doubting him coming into the year, and humbly submit my request to be reinstated to my position as driver of his bandwagon. I've got to get that out of the way because so far this year Jordan Oliver has been wrestling like a bad dude, exactly what I and so many others were expecting him to come in and do last year when all he did was make the NCAA semi's en route to finishing 4th in the country. Some how that was seen by people (myself included) as a letdown based on expectations. Last year it wasn't that he wasn't winning, because he was but it was how he was winning. Based off of interviews from both Oliver and Smith it seems that the tired excuse of "he wasn't committing himself" that is used so often was actually applicable in this situation, was yoyo'ing his weight too much and it came back on him against tough guys. Now that he's down to a consistent 139 this year he's reminding us of the guy he used to be, the guy who pinned McDonough and Long. He hasn't run into many marquee guys so far this year, he had an 8-7 win over Hochstrasser at the All Star match which wasn't near as close as the score indicated. Then he majored Carter this past weekend. Sandwiched in between those wins he's been destroying everyone else.
Still have Hochstrasser sitting here in the same spot that I had him during the pre-season. So far he's come into this year and been more or less what we expected. Still tough and luckily for him he's been able to stay healthy and eligible so far through out the year. After taking the tough loss to JO in the All Star match, he came out and looked really good as he more or less cruised through the Las Vegas tournament putting up dominant wins against Carter in the semi's and Graff in the finals. He's also got three wins over the Oregon State pairing at 133 beating Drucker 11-0 and 10-1, then beating Kubec 11-0. While it doesn't seem like he's a guy who is going to derail Oliver now that his weight is right, just in watching Hochstrasser through out the course of his career he's a guy who just finds a way to win and I think he's able to do that against everyone not named Jordan Oliver en route to a runner up finish here.
Came into the year as high on Tyler Graff as I was anyone in the country, and while he certainly hasn't disappointed as he's ranked a well deserved 3rd right now he's still more or less the same wrestler that he was last year as best demonstrated by his loss to Hochstrasser in the Las Vegas finals where Hochstrasser really didn't let him in the match. Stylistically he's still supremely technical from the feet with his textbook single legs and his front headlock and a great motor so that he's always able to go at guys the whole time. Then solid but still not where you might expect a guy like him to be on the mat especially given the fact that Jared Frayer has been in the room with him every day for the last two years. So far this year he's got a pair of wins over Carter and Futrell, the second Carter match this past weekend tightened up quite a bit though. Then he's also beaten Ruggirello and Sentes. Biggest disappointment of this past weekend was the fact that we didn't get to see him and Oliver meet back up.
Some people may make the argument that I am overrating Long by putting him here, but based off this past weekend he's wrestling and looking at the scores that he's putting up he's pretty much the same guy that we saw last year (meaning really tough). Still great with that same underhook series either working across to a knee or ankle pick, or just throwing it up and going single to the same side. Still tough on top with both tilts and turns, and still a guy who other than his early matches against McDonough last year is in good shape and able to wrestle the whole time. This past weekend he majored both Morrill and Stevens (not world beaters, but solid guys) in his first competition back, and given the state of that room right now in the lower weights I don't really see his production dropping off.
Came into the year thinking that Carter was a guy who could be a major league sleeper (at minimum winning the ACC) for Virginia Tech, but even I didn't think he was going to be this good. People got to see him when he went out on Flo's BLD webcast and just looked like a wild man wrestling Brandon Jones from Iowa State, then he went out the following day and more or less walked through the Hokie Open capping the day off when he majored Kyle Hutter in the finals. Thus far this year he's also beaten Morrill, and Stevens, then he came out and majored Scott Sentes this past weekend at National Duals. As much as I hate to say this (due to what it may hold for the future) he spent the first month of the year wrestling a similar style to Colt Sponseller his freshman year where he was just all out on the feet, not afraid to give up points because he was going to come and get them back later. It cost him a little bit as he took losses to Graff and Hochstrasser where he was pretty much controlled, and then a wild 12-11 loss to Futrell. He may have managed to move past that though as this past weekend while he lost to both Oliver and Graff he looked a lot more controlled than he had over the first month of the season.
Similar to some other guys (Cesar Grajales) at Penn, Peterkin is another guy who seems like he's just been around forever. He's come out this year as a senior and is looking so far like he's going to push for his first All American honor. He's someone who we didn't really get a good handle on early in the year as he actually went 141 at an early tournament, and then just didn't wrestle anyone due to Penn's schedule. He came out at the Southern Scuffle though and showed that he's going to be in the conversation as he beat Drucker, Morrill, and Hutter en route to making the finals and then shut out Lou Ruggirello 6-0. The match against Ruggirello showed what it seems like we're going to get from him stylistically this year. At his best on top (didn't really see that, but it was intimated pretty good since Rugg wouldn't go underneath) and then while not the most aggressive guy from the feet he's someone who can scramble out of bad situations (back flip) and then he's very opportunistic (five pointer).
After losing his first match of the year to Jake Fleckenstein, Ruggirello has wrestled like a guy who is on his way to shedding the possible mantle of "one of the best never to AA" as he's generally wrestled pretty well recording a pair of sub :45 second falls over Kelly Kubec, a pair of wins over Morrill, and then other wins over Paddock, Filip Novachkov, and Futrell. The reason why I have him down here (and dabbled with dropping him one spot lower) is the fact that there is a clear plan on the book for beating him. While its been proven over the course of his career that this is certainly easier said than done, if you force him to pick top and then try and win the match on your feet by picking your spots and not opening up to any danger you can beat Ruggirello and with the way that guys wrestle at the end of the year this is something that could come back to bite him as its done his last two NCAA tournaments.
I came into last year with BJ Futrell as a guy that I was really high on as a breakout candidate, he obviously messed up those predictions when he went and redshirted then coming into this year I'd kind of almost forgotten about him but with the way he's wrestled so far it seems like I was right on with calling for a lot of improvement out of him last year. Just was a year early. His freshman year I was really impressed by his athletic ability and his overall aggressive style, he was just too small. How he's managed to make the move up to 133 and be better here than he was at 125 two years ago is a little bit of s surprise though. He emerged to everyone over the course of his 4th place finish at the Las Vegas tournament where he recorded wins over Paddock, Sentes, and Carter. Then he showed that tournament wasn't a fluke when he made a run to the Midlands finals that included a win over Tony Ramos. Similar to Carter he's a guy who still may be a little raw just in looking at his two losses to Graff where Graff was able to run the score up a little bit, and then the loss he took to Ruggirello that wasn't close either.