WAAAAY too early look at 2015 NCAA Wrestling Tournament

Where will the Hawkeyes land in the rankings next year??

Tim and I break down the returning All-Americans and who the faces will be at each weight class. These rankings are clearly waaaaay to early but it is always fun to think about the future of Division I wrestling. Feel free to comment below and let us know if you have some insider info about certain wrestlers being at different weight classes or taking possible redshirts.

BIG THANKS to twade (Tim) for his help with this!

125

Returning AAs:
Delgado (ILL) 7th-1st-1st
Garrett (CORN) 3rd-2nd
Megaludis (PSU) 2nd-2nd-3rd Projected to redshirt in 2014-2015
Dance (VT) 4th
Clark (IOWA) 5th Projected to move up to 133
Peters (UNI) 6th
Cruz (LEH) 7th
Hall (ISU) 8th
Cox (WYO) 8th-DNP

Top New Faces:
Gilman (IOWA) 16-3 record, Ranked as high as #3 in 2013-2014, 2013 Midlands Champ, Intermat 2012 #10 recruit
Tomasello (OHST) 19-0 record, Intermat 2013 #15 recruit

Graduating AAs:

Patterson (OKLA) DNP-7th-Rof12-Rof12

2014-2015 Outlook

Considering the depth at this weight, Clark had a very solid freshman year. Things got plenty hairy at times and Clark even lost his job to another superfrosh in Thomas Gilman, but Clark was the Iowa 125 pounder come tournament time and finished an impressive 5th in OKC. With the graduation of NCAA Champ Tony Ramos, we'll most likely see Clark move up to 133 for 2014-2015 and Gilman take his place in the starting lineup. Gilman finished this past season with a 15-3 record (which included wins over AAs #1 Delgado, #6 Peters (Gilman is 3-0 vs. Peters in his career) #7 Cruz and losses to #3 Megaludis, #5 Clark and non-qualifier Brancale). Nationally, there's some talk that Megaludis finally takes his redshirt year. If that happens, I'd put great odds on a rematch of the 2014 final. These two wrestlers (and Megaludis if he's not redshirting) are in a class by themselves. An intriguing name is Waters (MIZZ), who was redshirted this past season and wrestled 133 unattached. He was pretty successful wrestling 125 his freshman through junior seasons (3-time NQ, 1-time AA losing to Garrett in the 2013 NCAA 3rd place match), but he struggled a bit wrestling up a weight in 2014 and ended up with a 4-4 record (W over #6 Beckman, Ls to #1 Ramos, #2 Graff, #6 Beckman and Willers (UNI Backup)). Waters has the talent to get to the podium, but I'm not sure how he'd handle the bigger weight class. My guess is he moves back down to 125 for his senior season.

Possible Rankings:
1. Jesse Delgado
2. Nashon Garrett
3. Nico Megaludis
4. Alan Waters
5. Thomas Gilman 
6. Joey Dance 
7. Dylan Peters
8. Darian Cruz


Finals Prediction: Delgado (IL) vs. Garrett (CORN)
Hawkeye Prediction: Gilman finishes 4th

133

Returning AAs:
Schopp (EDIN) Rof12-4th
Beckman (LEH) DNP-6th
Brewer (OKLA) 7th-8th
Waters (MIZZ) DNP-Rof12-4th Redshirted 2013-2014

Graduating AAs:
Ramos (IOWA) Rof12-3rd-2nd-1st
Graff (WIS) 5th-5th-3rd-2nd
Colon (UNI) Rof12-3rd
Thorn (MN) DNP-7th-5th
Roth (CMU) DNP-7th
Morrison (OKST) DNP-DNP-5th-DNP
Quiroga (PUR) 6th-DNP-DNQ-Rof12
Mango (STAN) DNP-5th-5th-Rof12

2014-2015 Outlook

As mentioned above, I expect Cory Clark to move up to 133 with the Hawkeyes losing NCAA Champ Tony Ramos to graduation. This weight really clears out with the top 3 at this weight graduating. I'm really looking forward to see how Clark fairs up a weight. During his redshirt year, he bumped up to 133 for a couple of late season tournaments and went 8-0 (with 7 bonus point wins), albeit against less than stellar competition. The last time he wrestled in competition at 133 was the 2013 FILA Junior Nationals where he placed 7th (losing to Mark Grey (CORN) and Joey Palmer (ORST)). Obviously freestyle results aren't directly related to folkstyle results, and Clark was most likely keeping his weight down as he knew he wasn't going to be wrestling at 133 during the 2013-2014 season, but it's something to think about as he moves up a weight against bigger wrestlers. As far as national opponents, I'd love to see how Clark's mat wrestling and wide open style would matchup vs. Schopp. I've got Schopp in the finals, facing either Clark or Beckman.

Possible Rankings:
1. AJ Schopp
2. Mason Beckman 
3. Cody Brewer
4. GeoffAlexander 
5. Cory Clark
6. Marky Grey
7. Johnni DiJulius 
8. Earl Hall

Finals Prediction: Schopp (EDIN) vs. Beckman (LEH)
Hawkeye Prediction: Clark finishes 3rd

141

Returning AAs:
Stieber (OHST) 1st-1st-1st
Carter (VT) Rof12-5th-2nd
Port (EDIN) Rof12-2nd-3rd
Henderson (UNC) DNP-6th-4th
Retherford (PSU) 5th
Dutton (MICH) Rof12-DNP-7th
Durso (F&M) DNP-Rof12-8th
C. Dardanes (MINN) 4th-6th-Rof12

Graduating AAs:
Lazor (UNI) Rof12-6th
Undrakhbayar (CIT) 4th-DNP
Nevinger (CORN) 7th-5th-DNP
Lester (OU) 8th-DNP-DNP

2014-2015 Outlook

By all accounts Dziewa had a year that left Hawkeye fans wanting more, especially given his obvious talent. There were some nice moments - including wins over AAs Durso (F&M), Dardanes (MINN) which led to his highest ranking (#9) in the polls. However, the end of the season run was fairly inconsistent - losing his last 2 regular season matches (vs. AA Dutton (MICH) and NQ Gardner (LEH)), a 5th place Big 10 finish and a 2-2 record at NCAAs. Two issues that were apparent in all of his losses: a lack of offense and struggles from the bottom position. He needs to focus on both areas this offseason as he enters into his senior season if he hopes to make the podium - there is a ton of talent returning nationally.

Possible Rankings:
1. Logan Stieber
2. Devin Carter
3. Mitchell Port
4. Zain Retherford
5. Steve Dutton
6. Evan Henderson
7. Richard Durso
8. Chris Dardanes

Finals Prediction: L. Stieber (OSU) vs. Port (EDIN)
Hawkeye Prediction: Dziewa finishes in Round of 12

149

Returning AAs:
Tsirtsis (NW) 1st
Kindig (OKST) DNP-DNP-2nd
Habat (EDIN) DNP-DNP-4th
Houdashelt (MIZZ) DNP-5th-5th
Minotti (LEH) 6th
N. Dardanes (MINN) Rof12-7th-DNP
H. Stieber (OHST) 6th-3rd Redshirted in 2013-2014

Graduating AAs:
Grajales (MICH) Rof12-Rof12-DNP-3rd
English (PSU) 6th
Maple (OKLA) DNP-4th-1st-8th
Sakaguchi (ORST) DNP-7th-5th-Rof12
Neibert (VT) Rof12-8th-Rof12

2014-2015 Outlook

After the previous 3 years, having a competitive 149 pounder was a welcome sign. Here's a fun fact for everyone: despite a disappointing Big 10s, Grothus pigtail win in Madison was the first points Iowa had scored at 149 since Brent Metcalf's senior year. Getting all of that out of the way, Grothus left a lot of us wondering "what if?" A backup to start the year, he put a stranglehold on the starting spot with an impressive Midlands performance (which included wins over AAs Tsirtsis (NW-1st), Habat (EDIN-4th)). As the season went on he had a couple more impressive victories (Kindig (OKST-2nd), Grajales (MICH-3rd) and seemed good to go entering tournament season. After so much promise, Brody faded pretty significantly losing to a guy who failed to qualify for NCAAs (Ervin (ILL) or guys he'd previously knocked off (Grajales at Big 10s and Lubeck (WIS) at NCAAs). Entering his junior season, I'd like to see Brody develop more consistency and mat awareness next year. The question is, what weight will Brody wrestle in 2014-2015? With 4-time AA Derek St. John graduating, 157 is a big hole to fill and it seems as though some combination of Grothus and talented freshman Brandon Sorensen will fill 149/157 in some order. Sorensen wrestled the first half of the year up at 157, posting a record of 10-3. He dropped down to 149 in time for Midlands and went 14-1 at the lower weight (including wins over Grothus and AA Neibert and a SV loss to Habat). I'm hoping this lineup gets sorted out soon in order to give whoever is going up to 157 time to bulk up. For now, I think Sorensen is the guy and I think he falls just short of making the podium.

Possible Rankings:
1. Jason Tsirtsis
2. Hunter Stieber
3. Josh Kindig
4. Drake Houdashelt
5. David Habat
6. Mitch Minotti
7. Jake Sueflohn
8. Nick Dardanes
9. Justin Arthur

Finals Prediction: H. Stieber (OHST) vs. Houdashelt (MIZZ)
Hawkeye Prediction: Sorensen finishes in Round of 12

157

Returning AAs:
Ness (MINN) 2nd-4th-2nd
Green (NEB) 7th-7th-3rd
Miller (KSU) DNP-4th
Realbuto (CORN) 6th
Jordan (WIS) 7th
Perrotti (RUT) 8th
D. Alton (PSU) 3rd-Rof12-DNP

Top New Faces:
Martinez (ILL) 13-2 record, win over AA Jordan (WIS-7th), Intermat 2013 #5 Recruit

Graduating AAs:
St. John (IOWA) 4th-2nd-1st-5th
Pena (ORST) DNP-5th-DNP

2014-2015 Outlook

As mentioned above, DSJ has left some big shoes to fill. We're going to see either Grothus or Sorensen at this weight. However, don't count out Mike Kelly. Brands seems to have an affinity for Kelly and with Kelly getting the nod when DSJ sat out both the Lehigh and Indiana duals leads me to believe he's going to be given the chance to be the starter. Now what Kelly does with this chance remains to be seen (we're all accustomed to his limited offensive output against top competition), but he will get his chance. I think Grothus will end up being the starter and I'm already concerned over how he'd handle the bump up in weight. That plus all the talent returning at this weight (and that's without NCAA Champ Dieringer (OKST) who is expected to bump up to 165) doesn't have me feeling good about Grothus's chances at the podium.

Possible Rankings:
1. Dylan Ness
2. James Green
3. Ian Miller
4. Brain Realbuto
5. Isaac Jordan
6. Nick Brascetta
7. Anthony Perrotti
8. Luke Smith

Finals Prediction: Ness (MN) vs. Green (NEB)
Hawkeye Prediction: Grothus goes 2-2 at NCAAs

165

Returning AAs:
Sulzer (UVA) DNP-8th-4th
Moreno (ISU) 6th-5th
Harger (NW) DNP-8th

Top New Faces:
Dieringer (OKST) 3rd-1st, wrestled at 157 in 2014, expected to move up to 165
Jordan (OHST) 23-0 record, 20 bonus point wins, Intermat 2013 #1 Recruit
Massa (MICH) 18-1 record, Rof12 in 2013, RS in 2014, Intermat 2012 #2 Recruit

Graduating AAs:
Taylor (PSU) 2nd-1st-2nd-1st
Caldwell (OKST) 5th-2nd-3rd-2nd
Monk (NDSU) Rof12-Rof-12-3rd
Luvsandorj (CIT) DNP-DNP-DNP-6th
Zilverberg (MN) DNP-DNQ-DNP-7th

2014-2015 Outlook

Going into NCAAs, Moore was behind only Ramos and Clark as the Iowa wrestler I felt most confident in performing at or above his seed. After a fantastic regular season (19-2, Ws over AAs Caldwell, Moreno, Zilverberg and Harger, L to AAs Taylor, Monk) and a runner-up finish at Big 10s, I was very confident that we'd see Moore make the podium. Needless to say, I did not see either a first round loss (albeit to the same wrestler who knocked Nick out of the 2013 tourney, Veltre (BLOOM)) nor a 2-2 record at NCAAs. Fortunately for Moore, this weight loses a lot to graduation with 5 of the 2014 AAs moving on and I expect Moore to AA in his final year as a Hawkeye. Despite the attrition, there are a couple of formidable wrestlers coming into this weight with 2014 157 pound NCAA champ Dieringer expect to move up and super freshman Jordan coming off redshirt and both are formidable opponents with plenty of accolades between them.

Possible Rankings:
1. Alex Dieringer
2. Nicholas Sulzer
3. Michael Moreno
4. Pierce Harger
5. Taylor Massa
6. Nick Moore
7. Bo Jordan
8. Dylan Palacio

Finals Prediction: Dieringer (OKST) vs. Jordan (OHST)
Hawkeye Prediction: Moore places 4th

174

Returning AAs:
Storley (MINN) 6th-4th-3rd
Kokesh (NEB) Rof12-3rd-4th
Brown (PSU) 2nd-5th
Evans (IOWA) DNP-6th-6th
Wilps (PITT) DNP-7th
Hammond (CSB) DNP-8th
Walters (OHIO) 8th-DNP

Graduating AAs:
Perry (OKST) Rof12-3rd-1st-1st
Howe (OU) 2nd-1st-3rd-2nd

2014-2015 Outlook

With Perry and Howe moving on, this weight is really a crap shoot. As far as returning wrestlers, the Storley-Kokesh-Brown-Evans foursome really seemed to separate from the rest of field during 2014. To illustrate this, consider that during this past season, the only losses these 4 suffered were to one another or to the Howe/Perry combo. It's fairly clear that the 2015 NCAA champ will likely come from this group. While Evans has shown he can be competitive vs. the other top returning AAs, Kokesh and Storley seem to give him more problems than Brown. After that tough semis loss to Perry, Evans seemed to be reeling a bit on Saturday morning, and Kokesh (a guy who tore his ACL in his round of 12 match) took it to Mike for the 3rd time this year, winning 10-4. In order to close the gap, Evans needs to develop more offensive attacks during this offseason if he hopes to make it to the top of podium next year. As far as the other competitors, it will be interesting to see if Brown stays at this weight or decides to bump up to 184 with Ruth graduating. While he's not a tall 174 pounder, Brown seems to have the strength and body type to put on another 10 lbs and still be a title contender at the higher weight class.

Possible Rankings:
1. Logan Storley
2. Robert Kokesh
3. Matt Brown
4. Mike Evans
5. Tyler Wilps
6. Bryce Hammond
7. Tanner Weatherman
8. Elliott Riddick

Finals Prediction: Evans (IOWA) vs. Kokesh (NEB)
Hawkeye Prediction: Evans finishes 2nd

184

Returning AAs:
Dean (CORN) 3rd
Dechow (ODU) 4th
Thomas (PENN) 6th
Bernstein (BROWN) DNP-DNP-8th

Top New Faces:
Brown (LEH) 26-3 record (W over Thomas, Bernstein, L to Dean, Thomusseit, Sheptock), RS in 2014

Graduating AAs:
Ruth (PSU) 3rd-1st-1st-1st
Sheptock (MD) Rof12-6th-2nd
Steinhaus (MINN) 8th-5th-Rof12-5th
Swartz (BSU) DNP-DNP-Rof12-7th
Lofthouse (IOWA) DNP-7th-5th-DNP
Loder (UNI) Rof12-Rof12-7th-Rof12

2014-2015 Outlook

With 2-time AA Ethen Lofthouse moving on, Sam Brooks seems to be the obvious starter for Iowa in 2015. As a redshirt freshman, he saw quite a bit of varsity action and even wrestled up at 197 while filling in for Nathan Burak for some early season duals (going 2-2). An overall record of 18-7 (16-3 at 184), Brooks scored impressive victories over a couple of seeded wrestlers (#8 Dudley (NEB), #9 Abounader (MICH)). Brooks brings a higher offensive pace to his matches and his gas tank is one of his best attributes. A formidable mat wrestler, his tilt series isn't something you normally see from wrestlers in this weight class. As you can see, this weight really clears out due to graduation, but there are some impressive young wrestlers coming back in the 4 returning AAs with both Dean and Dechow entering into their sophomore season. If Brown bumps up to 184, I think he's one of your finalists, but with nothing official at this time, I'm keeping him at 174. Another Nittany Lion who could move is McIntosh, from 197 down to 184. He's one of the shorter 197 pounders and could be a force at 184 (a weaker weight nationally in 2015). If McIntosh drops down, I'd mark him as a finalist.

Possible Rankings:
1. Gabe Dean
2. Max Thomusseit
3. Lorenzo Thomas
4. Jake DeChow
5. Ophir Bernstein
6. Kenny Courts
7. Sammy Brooks
8. John Rizqallah


Finals Prediction: Dean (CORN) vs. Thomusseit (PITT)
Hawkeye Prediction: Brooks finishes 5th

197

Returning AAs:
Schiller (MINN) 5th-3rd
Gadson (ISU) 6th-4th
Hartmann (DUKE) DNP-5th
McIntosh (PSU) DNP-7th
Burak (IOWA) DNP-8th
Meeks (ORST) DNP-4th-DNP

Top New Faces:
Snyder (OHST) Junior World Champ, Intermat 2014 #1 Recruit

Graduating AAs:
Heflin (OHST) Rof12-5th-5th-2nd
Penny (VT) 6th
Rutt (OU) DNP-7th-DNP
Rosholt (OKST) DNP-DNQ-8th-DNP

2014-2015 Outlook

As this past season wore on, it seemed as though Burak would have trouble improving on his Round of 12 finish at the 2013 NCAAs. The start of his sophomore year was pushed back due to an undisclosed injury (by all accounts it was a skin infection) and though he showed improvement in his riding skills, his aggressiveness from neutral and willingness to string together shot attempts took a downward turn from what he showed his freshman year. Despite this change, Burak was one of 4 Hawkeyes to place above his seed (#8 Clark - 5th, #3 Ramos - 1st, #11 Burak - 8th, #5 Telford - 4th) and scored a pretty nice upset defeating #6 Perry in the 2nd round. That being said, Burak is going to have his hands full in his quest to move up the ladder in 2015. A ton of talent returns plus Ohio State brings in Kyle Snyder. Does returning NCAA champ J'Den Cox bump up to HWT? He appeared to be a monster at 197, so a move up could be in the cards.

Possible Rankings:
1. J'Den Cox
2. Scott Schiller
3. Kyven Gadson
4. Morgan McIntosh
5. Conner Hartmann
6. Nathan Burak
7. Kyle Snyder
8. Nick Bonaccorsi

Finals Prediction: Cox (MIZZ) vs. Snyder (OHST)
Hawkeye Prediction: Burak finishes 6th

HWT

Returning AAs:
Gwiazdowski (NCST) 8th-1st
McMullan (NW) 3rd-2nd-3rd
Telford (IOWA) 5th-DNP-4th
Marsden (OKST) DNP-8th
Myers (MD) 6th-DNP-DNP

Graduating AAs:
Nelson (MINN) 7th-1st-1st-2nd
McClure (MSU) DNP-5th
Chalfant (IND) DNP-DNP-6th
Johnson (OHIO) DNP-7th-Rof12-7th

2014-2015 Outlook

Despite starting the season behind the 8-ball (including a recovery from offseason surgery and another knee issue in December) Telford really came on in both Big 10s (#4 seed, finished 3rd) and NCAAs (knocking #4 seed Coon out of the championship side and placing 4th). Entering his senior season, Bobby is more than capable of a 1st place finish with a healthy offseason. This should be a dogfight for top honors as there's a lot of talent returning, including Coon (MICH) who was knocked out in the Round of 12 after holding the top spot in the rankings for much of the year. One item of note: McMullan is attempting to become just the 10th 4x AA ever at HWT (Nelson (MINN) became the 9th this past season).

Possible Rankings:
1. Nick Gwiazdowski
2. Mike McMullan
3. Bobby Telford
4. Adam Coon
5. Austin Marsden
6. Connor Medbery
7. Nick Tavanello
8. Amarveer Dhesi

Finals Prediction: Telford (IOWA) vs. McMullan (NW)
Hawkeye Prediction: Telford finishes 1st

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