Sean Bormet's first year as Head Coach of the Michigan Wrestling program will be one that is certainly not a rebuild. The Wolverines return the starters they featured in the first seven weight classes en route to their 4th place finish at the NCAA Championships. However, they add several heralded recruits and one high-profile transfer to the mix to make this year's competition for starting spots pretty interesting. Here is a look at how each weight might look.
- Drew Mattin had his redshirt pulled this season and had a very solid true freshman campaign finding his way into the top ten on occassion. He split wrestle-off matches with Austin Assad before an injury default. Assad was the starter the previous season before a season ending injury that famously prompted Conor Youtsey to come back out of retirement. I don't expect Mattin to redshirt if he wins the wrestle-off, but a possibility if Assad can challenge him. Jack Medley was in redshirt this season earning a 19-12 record. He is a 4-time place winner from Anchor Bay, Michigan. Incoming freshman, Michael Mars, is a 3-time D1 (highest enrollment in Michigan) state champion adding depth to the picture.
- Stevan Micic is two for two in All-American finishes and coming off an NCAA finals appearance. He will be competing for Serbia this summer at 57 kg in freestyle with Olympic aspirations.
- This is where things really start to get messy. Salvatore Profaci held off true freshman Ben Freeman in a barn burner of wrestle-off's last season with a pair of last second takedowns. Freeman then redshirted. Leslie, Michigan native Kanen Storr is transferring home after being recruited by the Paulson's to go to Iowa State after being on the Junior national team. When Kevin Dresser's regime took over, things didn't go well and Storr left the team. At the time, he was 15-7 ranked in the top 20. Joey Silva is a #1 ranked recruit at 138 from Florida. The phenom could be so impressive that Michigan, a team expected to compete for a team trophy again, has to let him roll.
- Malik Amine enters his senior season coming off a 1-2 finish at NCAA's with an up and down season. He held off Tyler Meisinger in the wrestle-off last season and Meisinger did have a decent year in tournaments going 14-6. With the log jam at 141, one of the above names could come up to 149. Michigan has another top recruit coming in with Chicago's Will Lewan. He's a Cadet World Champion in Freestyle and a Fargo Junior National Champion. He wrestled 145 as a junior and 152 as a senior and it's unclear where he will go in college. With Pantaleo at 157, Lewan could be a factor here if he can make the class.
- Alec Pantaleo returns for his senior season hoping to add to two All-American finishes. Layne Van Anrooy, a 4-time Oregon state champion, is coming off a redshirt season. With the next two weights also featuring All-Americans, it's tough to squeeze in next season.
- All-American Logan Massa never appeared to be fully healthy after an injury at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas. A healthy Massa is a national championship contender and Michigan sure hopes to have him back in full form next season. I wouldn't be surprised to see Van Anrooy get some time here as Massa gains steam. (Update on 6/1, Van Anrooy registered for U23 Freestyle at 74 kg which probably signals a 165 start to his redeshirt freshman season)
- Myles Amine is two for two in All-American finishes and made more than a run at the top two down the stretch. He lost by just one point to Mark Hall (Penn State) in both their meetings and got the first two takedowns in the semi-final over eventual champion Zahid Valencia (Arizona State). Garrett Sutton was an NCAA qualifier as a true freshman. After a redshirt year, he was stuck behind three All-Americans. Sutton has a lot of potential, but may not get much of a chance to show it in his junior season.
- Michigan graduated their starters in the three highest weight classes. Enter the exciting Jelani Embree coming off a 15-2 record in his redshirt year. He's a 2-time Michigan state champion and at Fargo in 2016 he took 3rd in freestyle and 6th in greco-roman. It's tough to imagine anyone challenging him for the spot nor do we really want to miss watching him wrestle.
- Jackson Striggow was the Michigan starter in 2017 as a redshirt freshman and was 5-4 in Big Ten duals. He saw some time in the lineup last year filling in for All-American transfer Kevin Beazley. Striggow went 18-8 on the season and looks to be back in the lineup. His brother, Bobby, will also be in Ann Arbor next season after capping his high school career with a state championship in Minnesota. He is also projected to be a 197. Andrew Davison is a state champion from Indiana coming off a redshirt season. He won the freshman/sophomore division at the MSU Open, but did not compete again last season due to injury. JT Correll also competed in redshirt last season looking to work in the mix. He is a 2-time runner up from Pennsylvania.
- (Insert joke about big shoes to fill) Michigan had two heavyweights in redshirt last season, Luke Ready and Zach Nemec. Ready was a 2-time Michigan state champion out of Brighton. Nemec finished a career in Illinois with a record of 100-17. Mason Parris is an incoming #1 recruit at 220 lbs. He is a 3-time Indiana state champion with a career record of 206-1. His demonstration at the all-star match against a 4-time Michigan state champ was eye opening. He shoots and moves like a lightweight while not appearing to miss many days in the weight room. College heavyweights usually need time to adjust and Parris was "only" at 220 last season so it may be a redshirt year for him even if he wins the wrestle-off.