Wrestling Mailbag: Projecting a Lineup, Redshirts and Facilities

We’re deep in the offseason right now, so I thought I’d throw in a mailbag this month and answer some of your questions from Twitter.

Haas is in Stillwater and currently enrolled in summer classes at OSU. He actually moved in with Caldwell a few months ago. He’s a dad now, which will certainly create some additional work for him and a bit of a different student-athlete experience than many face, but he will be attending and competing for OSU as planned. Caldwell is a bit older and always had a bit of a mentor/father figure role in his life to my understanding, which is certain to continue in college.

Outbound

  • Jakason Burks
  • Daniel Jezik

Both have entered the transfer portal, but have not announced destinations. Jezik is actually going to play football.

Incoming freshmen

  • Travis Mastrogiovanni
  • Kyle Haas
  • Victor Voinovich
  • Teague Travis
  • Cooper Birdwell
  • Cade Nicholas
  • Blake Skidgel
  • Talmage Carman

My best guess

125 — Mastro
133 — Fix
141 — Hone
149 — Gfeller
157 — Sheets
165 — Wittlake
174 — Plott
184 — Geer/Montalvo (Geer still hasn’t officially decided if he’s coming back, but the buzz I’ve heard is he will.)
197 — Ferrari
285 — Harris

I met with Ferrari a few weeks ago, and he said he’s still considering heavyweight. He weighs about 215-220 right now. I’d guess he could put another 15 pounds on by next season, and that’s a pretty small heavyweight. But who knows? Maybe he’ll pull it off.

Another variable to consider is do Mastro or Plott redshirt? That could change things up a bit. Ferrari will not be redshirting.

I know Sheets was scheduled to have his before getting the call that he would be getting a bid to the NCAA tournament. I believe they just postponed it a week or so, and he got it right after.

Plott’s teeth were knocked out at the end of the NCAA tournament, and he had to have an emergency dental surgery to fix that. I never really followed up to ask if they did anything on his shoulder later. He hasn’t been competing in any offseason freestyle tournaments, so I would assume so.

Iowa will be difficult to beat next year, and Penn State has a good young group right now.

Iowa will graduate a lot of talent, but Penn State should be pretty loaded for the next few years. I think OSU’s title chances depend a lot on health and development of some young guys.

Ex. Dustin Plott in high school had wins over most of the All-Americans at 174, including the NCAA champion, but was clearly hobbled by a bum shoulder all season.

If a healthy Plott is an NCAA title winner/contender soon, and some of the other young pieces on the roster get into the top five conversation quickly, then, yes, I like OSU’s chances soon.

But Penn State had two young guns win NCAA titles, has recruited well (as always), is getting some high level transfers in and had its own injury issues with at 125 and HWT.

The best shot OSU has will be 2-3 years from now when some of PSU’s current guys have graduated and OSU’s young group from last years’ No. 1 recruiting class have had a chance to develop.

It’s an important few years for OSU right here and the future of the program.

Haha. Ferrari caught lightning in a bottle between the NCAA tournament interviews and celebrations, the NIL rule changes and competing at Oklahoma State, where the legislature was already a bit ahead of the curve on the subject. He probably stands to make more money than many other athletes in the sport.

The positive thing for Ferrari is he is pretty dynamic. Even without wearing a shirt, he’ll be able to sell clothing, and nutrition and fitness will be huge plays for him. The man certainly isn’t afraid to put on a show, so companies will like that.

I do think he may end up having to pull it back in some areas. He’s obviously done an incredible job of building his own brand, but he has no hesitation to give his opinion and you never know what he’ll say at times. So, who knows how advertisers and companies will view that?

The three that wrestled during the free year are Plott, Ferrari and Mastrogiovanni. It’s probably Plott that’s most likely to use a redshirt because of injury, but I wouldn’t count out Mastro because of circumstances that make it more manageable for the team.

Mastro and Witcraft had a close bout in the ranking match. So it’s not as though OSU would be completely falling off the face of the earth if Witcraft could make 125 again. So, does it kind of make sense to give Mastro a redshirt and wrestle Witcraft to better Mastro’s chances of long term legacy plus give him some more time on the roster with this brother? I think so.

Zero chance with Ferrari, barring injury. He’s already said as much.

I haven’t really heard much. The last direct conversation I had was in the heat of the pandemic and things were more focused on just stopping the bleeding from that and keeping the athletic department’s head above water.

The O’Colly recently reported that OSU is focused on building a new softball stadium. I get it, to a certain extent. Softball is a growing sport, OSU has a great team and coach, fans are excited about the program, maybe more influential donors, too? And the investment has a bit more of a direct impact on OSU’s budget and bottom line — an expanded softball stadium means more revenue for OSU because more tickets will be sold.

But at the end of the day, if OSU doesn’t do something soon with their wrestling facilities, it runs a real risk of taking a step back as a program. When OSU got a new room and arena in 2000, the Cowboys recruited really well and rattled off four straight NCAA titles. They haven’t won one since 2006. That’s a long time for this program. There are other contributing factors with that, in-state talent, injuries, etc. … but facilities matter. And you can only recruit to program history for so long, so I really hope we see something soon.

That’s all I have for today. Sorry if I missed anyone, I’ll try and get back on it another time.

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