via Mark Selders at gopsusports
Penn State wrestling season is here y'all. Raise your hand if you're as psyched as I am. [hands go up all around PSU Internet]. The BSD Wrestling Team is wound the heck up and ready to blast double all your faces with as much #content as we can dream up. Scaff & I built your previews here and here. SWHA dropped more PSU wrestler background here. I hear Cari's going to bring us the meet-by-meet previews and Scaff the recaps. And, importantly, because we're already in love with the BSD commentariat (mostly ;) and always love to see new Wrestling Fans (most definitely), Scaff welcomes you noobs to this beastly, brutal, beautiful sport here.
Cael Sanderson is ready too! He popped up in the Penn State media room to take questions from Penn State Wrestling's erstwhile media. You can get a look at them on instagram straight flexin. Full video of Cael answering their questions is provided free by gopsusports.com here. But first let's take a second to check in on recruiting.
Consensus #1 pound-for-pound high school Senior Mark Hall has just announced he is committing to Penn State! Using Flo Wrestling's then-free 7/1/15 Recruiting Year 2016 class rankings, Penn State now has commitments from the #1 (Hall), #2 (Nick Suriano, a lightweight from New Jersey) and #6 (Mason Manville, a middleweight from many places) P4P wrestlers in the class. I've been woofing about it for a few years, but with what Cael has been doing in recruiting lately, and given his relative youth (36) and current number of team titles (4), Dan Gable's record 15 National Championships can legitimately be challenged.
Mark Hall says live on @FloWrestling that "#PennState felt like a home the second I stepped on campus." Made his official visit Oct. 10-11— Tim Owen (@Tim_OwenBWI) November 11, 2015
Here's a little more from Tim on the Hall commitment.
It's possible that either or both of Hall and Manville could grayshirt next year and spend a year not enrolled, but training in Freestyle at either the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs or at the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club in State College. NCAA wrestling eligibility rules revolve a fair bit around what the boards refer to as the Eligibility Clock. All athletes who meet minimum academic requirements can begin their clock immediately following high school, or can delay its start for one year (grayshirting). Those who grayshirt, must fulfill a key requirement before being eligible to compete for their university: they must complete a year of academic enrollment / residence at that university. Effectively this mandates that they redshirt their first year back on campus. So Hall's & Manville's calendar could look something like this:
2016 Tourney: finish their high school Senior year
2017 Tourney: delay enrollment, train wherever (grayshirt)
2018 Tourney: enroll at Penn State and redshirt
2019 Tourney: compete and begin the first of their four years of competition eligibility
Such an arrangement would spread out the talent stockpile currently accruing at the Lorenzo Wrestling Complex. Suriano, however, will be needed immediately next year and is likely to jump right into the 125 pound spot that Nico will be vacating after this year.
Speaking of Nico, let's check in with what Cael had to say about him earlier this afternoon. From the presser: "Nico's Nico. He's about three pounds bigger, which is big for him, because he's so lean. He just worked on technique, so that kept him slowed down. He's so intense, that's the way he competes that's how he operates every day of his life, so it was good to slow him down so he could work on technique. He's a bit bigger, stronger. We're grateful he's at Penn State, he's a great leader."
What follows is some rough transcription services provide by moi. I may have more than a few mistakes; if so, I apologize and the full video is here for fact-checking.
On the early schedule: "We have Lock Haven, they're a solid team, Coach Moore has those guys in good shape, gotta be ready. Virginia Tech is one of the better teams in the country, could be one of our toughest matchups in the country this year. I think it's a blessing to be able to see where we are early. Gotta make progress, so there's no other way than to go out there and get tested."
On the new dual championship format: "that's the goal: make the regular season duals matter more. There's a little more a follow-through with your regular season matches--if we win all of our duals, we'll have a team highly ranked and get to wrestle them here at Rec Hall. If we don't, we'll wrestle somebody equally ranked. It's better than wrestling the Big Ten all over again, then two weeks later wrestle the Big Ten again, then two weeks later wrestle them at the nationals."
On Matt McCutcheon, starter at 184: "he's a good wrestler, he's a tough kid. At nationals if he finishes his match strong he's in the semifinals, but he didn't. Confidence-wise, he knows what it takes, it's just his best effort. I think as a Freshman, he felt the whole team was counting on him to be Ed Ruth, but obviously we didn't. There's only one Ed Ruth."
On the outdoor match at Kinnick between Iowa & Oklahoma State this weekend: "I hope it's real cold (laughs). It's real good. It's exciting. We'll watch it. If it works, we'll look into doing something similar. We're always looking for ways to keep wrestling getting bigger & better, and Coach Brands has always done a good job with that."
On Zain Retherford, starter at 149: "i couldn't be more excited, just a great leader, like Nico, with his consistency. He's made a lot of progress, his offense has improved a great deal. Before he wasn't gettin a lot of bonus points, he should be a bonus guy this year."
On Shakur 'Corey' Rasheed, this weekend's starter at 165: "We had wrestle offs, those guys all wrestled each other."
On Morgan McIntosh, starter at 197: "We're lookin to him as a leader. He has the ability to score points & do things normal people can't do. He's looking to continue to improve. We're looking to him to lead, the upper weights. We need him to score bonus points, you do that with hustle, effort, right attitude."
On the Freshmen (Jason Nolf, Shakur Rasheed and Bo Nickal and now Jan Johnson) : "we're gonna find out real quick! They are redshirted, so we got to see a little of them. We didn't get a chance to see Shakur, he came in injured, but Bo took second in the NLO. They're guys who are gonna be fun to watch wrestle, that I can promise you."
On Jordan Conaway, starter at 133: "great kid, continues to get better, team voted him Total Committment award last year. He's back up at 133, he likes that quite a bit. Looks good in the practice room, will be fun to watch. Struggled with his weight a little bit last year; I think he'll be even stronger this year at 133."
On the weight bumps: "it was kinda a team decision. A lot was based off of Zain. If Zain says he's going up a weight, things are gonna shift around him. It wasn't til late Spring til he was ready to commit to that weight. I got a couple emails saying we had kids at the wrong weights. But the last thing you wanna do when you got kids that are hammers, is take some of that away from him by cutting weight. We don't want those guys wrestling off at 33 again (Gulibon & Conaway)."
On Jimmy Gulibon, starter at 141: "He did a good job with his weight last year, but we want him to feel great and he feels great at 141"
On Brian Brill, backup at 174: "Brill's tough. He's right there. He's pushing Bo. With him it just depends on his commitment level. Committed, he can be very good."
On Cody Law, backup at 157: "Gained a lot of confidence last year, realized he could win matches, with his conditioning alone. I felt comfortable going into the Big Ten with him. You knew one thing, he was gonna give it his best effort and there's no better thing as a coach. He's in the mix at 65. We have Hammond, we have Geno Morelli, the transfer from Pitt."
On Tristan Law, backup at 141: "doin well, redshirting, so no urgency. A lot of college wrestling is how bad do they want it. He certainly has the ability to be a very good wrestler, but that's gonna be up to him."
On Jason Nolf, starter at 157: "Nolf's just one of those guys...I don't want to put a lot of pressure on him. He doesn't get tired, very offensive-minded, good in all positions. He's gonna be a guy who's gonna be remembered around here for a long time."
On Nick Nevills, injured starter at Heavyweight: "there's a chance he'll be back, I'm optimistic, but he's a strong candidate for a Medical Redshirt. That'll be a decision made in January or February."
On Zain and opponents choosing down: "well, if they don't and he wins 1-0, there's nothing wrong with that. I think the top kids in the country will choose down. With Zain, we just need to watch. Because talk doesn't go very far with him."
On Jan Johnson, new starter at Heavyweight: "He is a two-time state champ, in Pennsylvania. Now, that's not like winning the state title in Utah, that repeating joke...We gotta ease him into things a little bit. It's not football, fast stop, it's a 7minute deal. He's not a big heavyweight, but you can still win. We put a couple phone calls in, but it was clear he was gonna play football, so we backed off. Having somebody willing to come over & wrestle, that's just good fortune. We were of that (that we only had one heavyweight). We had Anthony Cassar, would be a guy competing at 97, but would have been able to compete at heavy, but he got hurt in Brazil, just before school started. You always wanna have 6 guys at a weight, but at 125 & heavy that's very hard. Jan was a guy that was available two days later. He's just gotta wrestle smart, clear tie-ups, use his speed, stay out of bad positions, staying out of his opponents underhooks. He scrambles well, but he his a true freshman. We're gonna ease him into it. He weighs about 230, the class is 285, so he'll wrestle guys that could weigh that much. We're trying to keep his weight on him now, football does a great job of putting weight on. He was 195 in March, so that's football doin a great job on him. I told Coach Franklin, we'll keep him big.
1. We fans know this is going to be a special season. Cael sure looks like he knows it too.
2. I loved his answer on Jason Nolf! He had a few pauses, choosing his words carefully, but I bet if you caught him at happy hour, he'd be effusive about what we're about to see.
3. Who are the crazies actually writing to Cael to tell him he's wrong? I still love his attitude about bumping vs cutting. 'When you've got a kid that's a hammer, you don't want to take that away from him...' So good.
4. I like how for a lot of the guys he says it's just up to them. Such a great challenge. Also pretty minimizing, like the ceiling is only mental and nobody is limited by talent. I kinda dig it.
5. Cael Sanderson is so cool. He's literally cool in the calm sense of the word. And he's so smart and so awesome and Penn State is so lucky to have him. It's gonna be a great year.
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