- Montell Marion, Iowa
- Kellen Russell, Michigan
- Andrew Alton, PSU
- Borislav Novachkov, Cal Poly
- Michael Mangrum, Oregon St.
- Tyler Nauman-Pitt
- Kendrick Maple-Oklahoma
- Josh Kindig-Oklahoma State
R12-Zack Kemerer, Penn, Nick Dardanes-Minny, Zach Neibert-VT, Cole Von Ohlen-Air Force
Well Montell Marion certainly never had a dull moment last year. Started the year permanently suspended. He then proceeded to mentally break the ?permanent suspension? into submission and was back for the PSU dual where Alton tossed him to his back which forced Montell to put an absolute TD clinic on the freshmen. Then he had Kellen Russel dead to rights with little time left and pooped that one away. Dropped one to Thorn last year as well. There was never a question of his ability with Montell as he really reached another level from where he was as a sophomore. Had an absolutely bananas comeback in the quarters against Jimmy Kennedy where I think Jimmy literally lost his mind he was so tired and gave up the last TD. Had the controversial loss to Kellen when he took him down twice but never really ?planted? him so wasn?t awarded the points. Dropped down and got 4th. I?m hoping with a more low key Summer and his first time wrestling an entire season will help put Montell over the edge and beat Kellen Russel and the rest of the field.
Kellen exorcised his NCAA demons last year. Always did great in regular season and Big 10?s, but had some struggles at the big dance. The Gyro just seems to win, and doesn?t care what you think about how he wins. Doesn?t shoot much but uses his duck to score most of his offensive TD?s. Scores lots off of other guys shots. Really tough rider and that was what proved to be the difference for him this year at NCAA?s.
Andrew Alton had a great true freshmen year. He proved he was ready right away when he fake-ducked-headlocked Stephen Dutton into next week. Was competitive with all the elite guys wrestling Marion and Russell very close. Was somewhat ?found out? during the year at some point and he wasn?t quite able blow people up as much as he was earlier in the year. Kemerer(whom he had beaten earlier) had a nice gameplan and was able to oust AA in the R12. I think Cael uses his better judgement and wrestles him this year where I think he?ll be much improved if he can make the weight consistently.
Boris had a nice year and a nice draw last year when he hit the finals. I wouldn?t have guessed he was the 2nd best at this weight last year, but he got it done. Really kind of a jack of all trades. Good scrambler and has some good leg attacks, tough on top. I think he?ll really miss Mark Perry and drops off a little down to 4th.
Ok, now we?ve reached the portion of the picks where I throw darts and whatever I hit I went with. From 5-12 I really had difficulty discerning which way to go. My first dart landed on Mike Mangrum. Exciting kid with a lot of athleticism and ability. Hit the R12 this year and is someone I could see ?breaking out? and having a really nice finish.
I never really know what to make of Tyler Nauman. Had a nice year last year hitting the semis. Has notched some great wins over guys like Russell and Parks. However, when the chips were on the line this year he lost to Stephen Dutton. I think he caps his career off on the podium but believe me I?m not sold on it.
I watched Maple a lot 2 seasons ago and was really impressed. Got tons of ability and is great on his feet. Took a redshirt year and I think Mark Cody could be a great match for a guy like Kendrick. He was a huge 33 last year so I think the move up could help him with some fuel issues.
Kindig is another really exciting youngster. Had a pretty tough draw(though nothing he couldn?t have overcome) at NCAA?s and didn?t get on the podium. Got a lot of weapons on his feet and getting beat down by JO everyday has got to help. Also has had a great Summer wrestling freestyle.