I did this with a brief summary last year but this year I decided to bring a little more detail. I plan on doing this every year about this time, so hope you all enjoy. All rankings from FloWrestling.com
125# Austin Assad vs. Drew Mattin
Intriguing matchup pits the very talented but often injured Redshirt Junior Assad against a returning starter in true Sophomore Drew Mattin. Assad, a former starter from 2016-17 had his season cut short in January of ‘17 and was out all last year (presumably with the same injury). Mattin was last year’s starter at 125 and notched some impressive victories (most impressively an OT victory over #4 Lizak of Minnesota) in his true freshman campaign and ended the year 10th in the B1G and an NCAA qualifier going 2-2 at Nationals. I have seen both of these wrestlers compete albeit mainly in high school. Assad in my opinion is the more talented wrestler if healthy however that is a huge IF, Mattin meanwhile carries a preseason ranking of 12th in the country after last years debut. Mattin has a patient, calculated style while Assad was an absolute attacker from start to finish (pre-injury). I give the edge to Assad, and think he wins a tight bout 5-3, however due to his injury history I expect Mattin to split time as a starter.
Redshirt Junior Stevan Micic is the returning NCAA runner-up ranked #2 in the country at 133 and #14 P4P. He will most likely be Michigan’s top bonus earner and top scorer when tournament time comes around. He has no wrestle-off scheduled
141# Kanen Storr vs. Joey Silva
I anticipate this to be the best match-up of the night as we will see super recruit and true freshman Joey Silva take on Iowa State transfer and Redshirt Sophomore Kanen Storr. Coming out of high school Storr was a 3x Michigan state champion and as mentioned spent a few years at Iowa State where he placed 8th at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invite and 5th at Midlands. Storr carries a preseason NCAA ranking of 18th in the country. Joey Silva is a true freshman out of Lake Highland Prep school (FL) and is a 5x Florida state champion, 4x NHSCA National champion, 3x Super 32 champion, Ironman champion, and comes in as the #7 P4P recruit. Very few recruits come to Michigan with as impressive accolades as Silva. Silva is patient, quick, and powerful and has competed against the very best in high school (highly recommended that you watch his super32 victory against Iowa 133 Austin DeSanto, also put up a good fight against Iowa 125 national champion Spencer Lee in the Ironman 2 years ago). I have not seen Storr wrestle very much, however looking at his accomplishments and Silva’s patient style I expect this to be a 3-2 Silva victory. Silva may be smaller than Storr as Silva is listed on the official roster as a 133 and it is expected that Storr will outgrow 141 next year. As I said I expect Silva to win however I hope Storr bulks up and challenges Amine at 149 this year.
149# Malik Amine vs. Ben Lamantia
I mean no disrespect to Malik Amine, a Michigan legacy and returning starter, but this may be the weakest weight class on the roster. Amine a 5th year Senior is the incumbent and a returning NCAA qualifier posting a 1-2 record at nationals, and finishing 10th in the B1G. Several times last year Amine was simply overpowered. 149 is a tough weight nationally and with Retherford (Penn St.) in the same conference several wrestlers looked elsewhere or redshirted to avoid “Zane’s Pain Train” as B1G announcers called it yet all Amine could muster was 10th in the Big Ten. With Retherford gone, 149 will ramp up in competition and Amine is simply outclassed in my opinion. Before the matchups were announced, I couldn’t tell you whom the challenger would be. You could draw any one name of the other three 149’s (Lombard, Lamantia, Meisinger) out of a hat and Amine would be the favorite. Of those three, there is not even a single high school state championship and a stunning lack of accomplishment other than National Honor Society. This weight leaves a lot to be desired and there are no recruits to plug in immediately. Unfortunately Zac Hall did not pan out as I believe this would be his spot in a perfect world. I expect Amine to be victorious via major decision and would be highly disappointed with anything else. That being said, I still hold out minor hopes that Alec Pantaleo drops to 149 where he competed for his freshmen and sophomore seasons. Pantaleo at 149 is a national champion contender, Amine…will be lucky to be a qualifier again.
157# Alec Pantaleo vs. Will Lewan
Pantaleo returns for his 5th year senior season and is a household name at this point. Pantaleo is the returning B1G champ (however Jason Nolf was injured in the tournament so grain of salt applies) and is a 2x All-American capturing 5th place last year after falling to Hayden Hidlay (NC State) in the NCAA semi-finals. Pantaleo carries a preseason ranking of #4 in the country. His opponent is a former cadet freestyle world champion and the #28 P4P recruit coming into his true freshmen year. Lewan hails from perennial national power Montini Catholic (IL) and while I expect him to have a quality career in Ann Arbor, it won’t start this year. As I said above, I would love to see Pantaleo drop to 149 and watch Lewan battle Lane Van Anrooy (former 4x OR champ and former #31 P4P recruit) for this spot. Pantaleo is a an explosive powerful wrestler with an impressive blast double, he is however prone to giving up big moves as evidenced by the 6 point lat-drop versus Hidlay of NC State that cost him a spot in the NCAA finals. This match-up style leaves the door open to Lewan’s freestyle background, but Pantaleo is too skilled and too experienced for Lewan. Pantaleo wins 10-3, but don’t be surprised if Lewan scores a late takedown to make the score look a little better.
There is no match at 165 which is a slight bummer as Wolverine Nation, or at least the wrestling section of Wolverine Nation, desperately wants to see a healthy Logan Massa dismantle some poor defenseless soul like the days of old. Massa suffered an/multiple injury/injuries depending on the source, starting with his Cliff Keen match against Wisconsin Freshman Evan Wick. Massa is a former NCAA All-American at 165 when he burst onto the scene his true freshmen year losing a close bout to eventual NCAA Champ Vincenzo Joseph. Massa, much like Micic, is an impressive wrestler that many anticipate should challenge for a NCAA title. Massa carries a #5 preseason ranking. Depth is not great behind Massa with either the previously mentioned Van Anrooy or true Freshmen Max Maylor(listed as a 165/174), a Wisconsin state champion.
174# Myles Amine vs. Max Maylor
Myles Amine is 2 for 2 with All-American honors in both his true freshmen and true sophomore seasons (4th as a FR, 3rd as a SO). Amine is a returning B1G runner up to Mark Hall (Penn St.) and carries a #3 preseason ranking. Amine is also ranked #20 in NCAA P4P rankings. Maylor is…not. Amine is an impressive technician and will probably try to score at least three takedowns before either seeking a fall or racking up a few 4-point tilts for a tech fall.
184# Jelani Embree vs. Sebastian Rawls
A much anticipated recruit, redshirt freshman Jelani Embree is a former 2x Michigan state champion, had a good redshirt year picking up a few open titles along the way, and now looks to be a major contributor to the Wolverine’s wrestling team. Embree was the #29 P4P recruit two years ago. Sebastian Rawls is a true freshman and is a bit of a shock to me as I was expecting J.T. Correll to be Embree’s opponent. Embree is a physically gifted athlete and that should be on full display in this bout. I have Embree by double digits.
197# Jackson Striggow vs. Andrew Davison
Other than the 141lb. match-up this is the match I am most interested in. Striggow is a redshirt Junior and is a former starter before giving way to Kevin Beazley last season. Davison is a redshirt freshman and spent a lot of last season hampered with injuries. Davison is a former #52 P4P recruit as well as a Fargo freestyle champion. Depending on how healthy Davison is I could see this being a good match. Striggow has college experience and is a former starter so taking that into account I give the edge to Striggow in a close bout. (This is my upset alert as I could see Davison eking out a close victory)
Heavyweight Mason Parris vs. Luke Ready
You cannot mention heavyweight at a Michigan wrestling event without uttering something about Adam Coon. So let me start with a special note that Adam is currently in Budapest wrestling on the Greco World Team. In his senior level World team debut Coon pinned his opponent, in fact Coon has registered 4 falls in 4 matches and will be wrestling for a World title tomorrow (Oct 28). A moment of silence to remember Adam Coon.......................sighhhh, now we move forward. In the new era of Michigan Heavyweights, the crown jewel of last years recruiting class takes center stage. Mason Parris enters Michigan a much-ballyhooed recruit with an impressive list of accomplishments. Parris is a 3x Indiana state champion losing only one match in high school his freshmen year, he is a 2x FloNationals champion as well as being a division 1 football recruit (3x All state LB), and the #3 P4P recruit. Many have high hopes for Parris’s true freshmen year and he has definite NCAA All American potential. His opponent is redshirt Freshmen Luke Ready, a former 2x Michigan state champion. Luke may have a weight advantage as he has been a college heavyweight for a year now and Parris was a 220 as a senior last March. I look for Parris to absolutely dominate this match, I am definitely drinking the Kool-Aid when it comes to Parris as he comes in as the most hyped heavyweight since…well Adam Coon. Parris by 17-2 technical fall. the weight advantage cannot be counted out though as the Ohio St. Heavyweight wrestle-off ended with previous number 1 incoming 220 Chase Singeltary falling in OT to unknown nobody Gary Traub.
2018-19 Line up projection
125-Mattin (Assad wins wrestle off but gets injured)
149-Malik Amine(hopefully Storr bumps/Pantaleo drops)