The rumors on message boards had been rife for weeks - Mark Hall, last year’s #1 wrestling recruit, was close to having his redshirt pulled, and was going to be thrust into the Penn State lineup. These rumors proved true on Friday night, as Hall reportedly won a wrestle-off with thirteenth-ranked Geno Morelli and Cael Sanderson made the decision to burn Hall’s redshirt and put him into the lineup against Iowa’s Alex Meyer.
Hall had been on a tear in what was his redshirt season, going 19-1 unattached and storming his way to a Southern Scuffle title; he ended up losing to Meyer by two points on a late takedown, causing many fans to call the burning of his ‘shirt into question.
It’s very, very rare that Sanderson will burn a redshirt this late in the season; this is more of the modus operandi of Tom Ryan, who burned the redshirts of both Myles Martin and Kyle Snyder late last season (in his defense, which I’m loathe to do, both of those wrestlers went on to win national titles). Now that Hall’s redshirt is burned, his entire record is entered for the season - so he’s now 19-2 on the year, and will likely be PSU’s ranked wrestler at 174 this week with the updated rankings.
There are benefits to pulling the redshirt - Hall can be an absolute points machine, and Sanderson luckily saw the void that was looming now that 133er Jered Cortez had shoulder surgery, and is out for the season. Hall is young, though, and so inconsistent - he can lose to someone less talented (like Meyer) or beat someone who is a title contender (like Oklahoma State’s Kyle Crutchmer, whom he defeated handily - almost with bonus - in the finals in Tennessee).
What say you, matheads? Should Hall’s redshirt have been burned, or should Cael and co have kept it on?
Something to note, as Olympic Champion Jordan Burroughs (who was obviously watching Penn State’s dual win over Iowa) did on Friday night:
I lost my first two matches out the gate when my redshirt was pulled as a true freshman. I turned out to be alright.— Jordan Burroughs (@alliseeisgold) January 21, 2017