Stir the pot? Me?
JO, Carter, and Sentes have all been moved to 141 for the time being.
1. Logan Stieber (Ohio State)
2. Tony Ramos (Iowa)
3. Tyler Graff (Wisconsin)
4. Chris Dardanes (Minnesota)
5. Ryan Mango (Stanford)
6. BJ Futrell (Illinois)
7. Shelton Mack (Pittsburgh)
8. Joe Colon (Northern Iowa)
R12. AJ Schopp (Edinboro), Cody Brewer (Oklahoma), Steven Keith (Harvard), Mark Grey (Cornell)
Stieber came out last year and showed that all the hype that was out there about him wasn't for nothing as he dominated through out the regular season then came in at NCAA's and upset Oliver in what was probably the marquee match up of the finals. He's strong both offensively and defensively from his feet he's able to get to his offense against most everyone and then he's fantastic with his hand fighting if he needs to shut a guy down and close a close match out. Where he really shines though is on top where he's just mean both riding and pinning. Really works guys over with his big cookie series, and then again he's able to ride comfortably with a claw if he needs to salt a close match away.
I would really like to be able to hate Tony Ramos, but I can't. Other than Telford he's my favorite guy on Iowa. Like Chris Dardanes (who I'll get to) he's just a straight up grinder. He's not as fluid as Jay Borschel was but he's got a similar aspect for me in that he never seems overly frantic out on the mat. Where Borschel stayed relaxed and beat guys on top and with smooth technique, Ramos stays relaxed and just continues to wear on guys. Only real weakness is still the fact that guys can ride him. Its not as pronounced as it was when he was a freshman when it cost him All American status as he dropped consecutive matches against Sentes and Ruggirello but three of his four losses last year were to the guy that I have currently positioned above him and a big aspect of why he lost those matches was the fact that Stieber was consistently able to keep him on the mat.
Those of you who have been following these picks for a couple of years might be shocked to see me put Graff down here in 3rd right now but coming off an Olympic year last year this is where I'm most comfortable with him. Probably the best guy in the country from a purely textbook technique perspective. Its hard to make a single leg or a front headlock look better than what he does. Wrestled quite a bit while he was redshirting and saw quite a bit of success recording solid performances at Sunkist, the Schultz, and the Olympic Trials where he finished 3rd. Didn't really demonstrate a ton of interest in wrestling on the mat as a freshman and sophomore so it'll be interesting to see where he's at there. Seemed to oddly have some issues with his gas tank at the end of his sophomore year which was very shocking given his history.
Dardanes had quite the journey last year going from being the 133 back up for Minnesota at the beginning of the new year, to finishing the year 4th in the country. Came out as the less heralded of the two Dardanes brothers and then was even more under the radar coming into the year last year because he didn't wrestle at all as a freshman. Just a grinder, he and his brother both look like they live under a bridge and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Grabbed a hold of the starting spot after he won the Southern Scuffle and then kept it for good when he ground Logan Stieber down and then pulled the upset with a late takedown. Had issues at times with translating his hand fighting to offense particularly against Tony Ramos who he beat the crap out of in their first two matches but he just couldn't convert any offense. With Sanders having graduated he's quite possibly the early front runner for my "favorite guy on the Gophers" award.
While its obviously not set in stone yet that we see Mango here I have to think that theres a pretty strong possibility that we do given that he spent the first half of last season up here at this weight class before getting back down to 125 where he eventually finished 5th at NCAA's. Was solid while he was up here at this weight but wasn't up to the standard he had set the prior year. Only really had one bad loss when he dropped a match to Zach Zehner but he didn't really have any marquee wins. I think with another year he's able to see more success here at this weight. Always was one of the larger 125 guys and he was able to use that to his advantage. Has done an impressive job translating his greco background into folkstyle success.
Futrell came back last year and had another solid year en route to recording the second All American finish of his career. Seemed like he was really peaking at the end of the year as he had an excellent Big 10 tournament and then made the semi's at NCAA's. Unfortunately for him he lost to Oliver to move down to the consi's and once he was down on the back side he got pinned twice by Dardanes and Carter both of whom he had beaten multiple times in the past. Book on him is still the same as its been. Explosive and aggressive on the feet. Strong as a rider and a turner when he has the opportunity. Not the best tank in the world and he can be kept down on the mat by guys who know what they're doing.
We come here now to my breakout guy here at this weight class in Mack a guy who had a solid year last year for Pittsburgh but who has really shined so far this summer in age group freestyle events recording solid wins over Soto and Schopp in age group competition. Made the final match series at Junior World trials before he went down to Earl Hall. Had a nice little back and forth last year during folk season with Schopp as they traded wins in their three matches over the course of the year. 13-4 over his final 17 matches last year. Made the round of 12 at NCAA's before being knocked out by Dardanes.
It amazed me at the end of the year last year in looking at his record going into NCAA's just how good a record Joe Colon actually had. Stayed way under the radar wrestling for UNI didn't really have any bad losses and then he had a headline win over Devin Carter at National Duals. Despite the fact that he didn't get himself onto the podium he performed well in his first national tournament making the quarters at 133 before being sent out by Futrell and then eliminated by Carter who gained a measure of revenge for the earlier loss. As has already been mentioned word out there is that he might be down at 125 and if that's the case I like him to get on the podium there even possibly a little higher.