This is the season Ohio State has been waiting for. Their team is a combination of veteran talent and top notch heralded recruits. Top to bottom, the lineup is stacked. They are expected to compete for a Big Ten and NCAA Championship. Not only do they look poised to score a lot of points in March, they also look like they can match up with anybody in a dual.
As part of our quest to preview every Big Ten team, we start with the Buckeyes. On Thursday, they held their wrestle-offs although nothing was really in question. They have their ten guys, and that's why we start with them. As more teams' lineups become complete, we will do our best to preview each team giving a nice guide heading in to the dual season.
(Rankings are Flowrestling's)
125- #12 Nathan Tomasello
- Tomasello is a huge recruit that has kind of been overshadowed by the presence of Kyle Snyder & Bo Jordan. Do not sleep on this redshirt freshman who went undefeated (18-0) in 4 open tournaments with 9 majors, 2 techs, and 3 pins. A 4-time Ohio State champion, 3-time Fargo National Champion, and FILA Cadet National Champion, he is probably underrated at #12.
133- #7 Johnni Dijulius
- We have spoken about how 133 is widely open and it'll be interesting to see who steps up in to the top 8. Dijulius is a 4th year junior who was 6th at the Big Tens last year, the #9 seed, and fell 2 wins shy of all-american honors. He will be in the mix although the #7 ranking may be a bit generous.
141- #1 Logan Steiber
- Logan is the best wrestler in the NCAA this year. Ironically this is probably the deepest weight class of talent, but they are chasing this guy who doesn't appear stoppable on the way to his 4th NCAA Championship.
149- #2 Hunter Steiber
- Hunter enters his Junior season after a redshirt year as a legitimate national championship contender. He was 6th as a freshman, 3rd as a sophomore, and now looking to be on top in March. Tsirtsis (Northwestern) returns as the national champ and it doesn't look like they will cross paths until the Big Ten tournament.
157- #7 Josh Demas
- Demas returns from a redshirt year. He is a 5th year Senior who is a 2-time NCAA qualifier. The last time we saw him was in the round of 12 in 2013. He is a very capable wrestler to end up on the podium in March, but he enters a very loaded weight class in the Big Ten. I think #7 is generous due to the high level of 157lb guys out there.
165- #16 Bo Jordan
- The very highly recruited freshman blew through his redshirt season showing why the hype was there. He was 182-1 in high school and elected the 2013 Junior Dan Hodge Trophy winner. He also pinned Ryan Leblanc (Indiana) in 4:23 in the finals of the MSU Open. He will be moving up from #16 in the rankings. However, his cousin Isaac (Wisconsin), Nick Moore (Iowa), Taylor Massa (Michigan), and AA Pierce Harger (Northwestern) create a very difficult road for any freshman.
174- #12 Mark Martin
- The Junior finished 7th in the Big Ten last year, and went 1-2 at NCAA's. With the top 4 guys in the country all in the Big Ten, it'll be a tough road again for Martin. Still being an NCAA qualifier and winning some matches would greatly help the team race.
184- #9 Kenny Courts
- Courts lost in the round of 12 last year, and finished 5th in the Big Ten. The 4th year Junior will look to take advantage of a year where 184 looks wide open in the Big Ten. One has to expect he will be right there in the thick of things in March this year.
197- Kyle Snyder
- Few wrestlers enter college as a true freshman with more hype than Snyder. A Junior World Freestyle Champion, this guy is a monster who is ready to step in and compete for an NCAA Championship. With 5 of the top 8 guys at 197 ranked in the Big Ten, it'll be a lot of fun to see the matches unfold. How great will it be to watch him and Schiller (Minnesota) mix it up in the big arena with the match on the line?
285- #13 Nick Tavanello
- Last year heading in to the post-season 7 of the top 8 guys were in the Big Ten. He was not one of them entering as the #10 seed in the Big Ten tournament, but upset Adam Coon (Michigan) and finished 8th. At NCAA's, Tavanello was also able to pull off a couple more upsets and finish 1 win away from the podium. He seems to be able to leverage under the taller heavyweights and score some unexpected points. If he can score more points in March, this team greatly increases their chances for a title.
Predictions: It's tough for two Michigan guys to admit how good this team looks heading in to this season. There's a lot to be excited for in Columbus and they host the Big Ten tournament which will add even more incentive to win the top conference (as if they need it). I have them at 3rd in the Big Ten and 4th in the NCAA's but this is a legitimate top of the podium team.