The most frequent question we are getting here at Bloodround has to do with Taylor Massa. Queue the bad Seinfeld impression, "What's the deal with Taylor Massa?" Well....what is the deal? Massa was the #1 can't miss recruit. He followed his historic high school years with a round of 12 finish as a true freshman. After a redshirt year, many expected this was the year he competed for a national championship. After a tough stretch of Big Ten competition, should we be pushing the panic button?
Massa is ranked 10th currently by Intermat. While that doesn't seem bad at first, that puts him as the 7th ranked Big Ten 165. The losses haven't been all that competitive. Isaac Jordan (Wisconsin) beat him 9-0, Taylor Walsh beat him 6-1, and in the two losses to Bo Jordan (Ohio State) included a lot of riding time. The inability to get away from bottom is a large looming problem. Massa is not known for being a takedown artist. He is able to score a lot of points on top against lower competition, but if he can't turn top guys the mat wrestling turns in to a disadvantage. Rumors of weight control issues also seem to plague him when he got off to a slow start this year.
He is just midway through his sophomore season. A couple adjustments by McFarland & Bormet and who knows where he will be. Also, six of the nine guys ranked in front of him are seniors. It's hard to hit the panic button on a guy who's losses are only to guys ranked in the top 6. He isn't losing the matches he is supposed to win so it isn't like we are dealing with a guy who can't adjust to college wrestling.
Taylor Massa will be one of the more interesting wrestlers to watch for the rest of the season. The only match he shouldn't be favored in until the conference tournament is when he will face Nick Moore (Iowa) in the dual. So maybe five or six wins heading in to the postseason will get some momentum and solve some riddles for him.
I think you buy stock in Taylor Massa while you can get it at a decent price. The bottom work will get better and the strategies will improve as well. It may not pay off big this year, but there is a very good chance he still makes the podium as an all-american (not a small accomplishment no matter how big of a recruit you were). Next year a lot of people graduate at 165 and 174 (if he moves up). There will still be plenty of challengers and tough guys. There is also a lot of work to do to get in to the national championship picture. However, writing off a sophomore ranked 10th is very shortsighted. Massa's potential has Michigan fans anxious for more. I think they will get it.
Frustrating to watch the old freestyle rules, but an interesting watch.