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Husker Wrestling’s 174-pound Outlook

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All-American Mikey Labriola returns for his junior year

Junior-to-be Mikey Labriola will be a pig piece of Nebraska’s possible 2020-21 success.
Dylan Guenther / Corn Nation

Previous weight-class previews: 125, 133, 141, 149, 157, 165

Who’s Leaving?

* No graduations

Who’s Coming Back?

*Grades representative of upcoming 2020-21 season

* Junior Mikey Labriola (2-year starter, All-American)

* Redshirt Freshman Isaiah Alford

New Arrivals?

*Recruiting rankings from InterMat

* No incoming recruits

Analysis

This could possibly be the most clear-cut weight class for the Huskers. They lose nobody and are bringing no new blood into the equation. There are also no real possible additions due to changes in weight class.

Despite having the same two wrestlers coming back, the Huskers get an injection of depth now that Isaiah Alford has finished up his redshirt year.

Mikey Labriola has been a stalwart presence for the Huskers his entire career. Heading into his junior year, Labriola already has 50 career wins (50-19) after going 30-9 as a freshman and 20-10 as a sophomore (wins during redshirt seasons don’t count toward career totals. Labriola went 18-2 during his redshirt season, for what it’s worth). Labriola seemed to take a minor step back in his second year starting after bursting on the scene as a freshman, earning All-American status with a 6th-place finish at the NCAA tournament. That could be due to the fact that the 174-pound weight class was a murderers’ row this season, although six of the top eight wrestlers are graduating, leaving Labriola in a much better spot going into his junior year. With a couple big-time wrestlers out of his way now, the junior-to-be has as good of a shot at some hardware next season as anyone on the Husker roster.

Labriola looks to be an important part of Nebraska’s title hopes next season, as he’s one of three former All-Americans returning for the Huskers. He looks like a lock to medal as a junior and score a lot of team points for the Huskers.

Behind Labriola, Nebraska has Isaiah Alford going into his redshirt freshman season. The former Lincoln, Neb. standout went 8-5 while redshirting with a first-place finish at the Hastings College Open. Alford was twice named the Nebraska Wrestler of the Year while in high school. He will most assuredly back up Labriola until he graduates, giving Alford the opportunity to potentially crack the starting lineup as a junior.

Prediction

Obviously, Labriola will be the Husker starter barring an injury. After having no real backup last year, Labriola will now be backed up by Alford. This could afford the Huskers a few opportunities throughout the year to rest Labriola and give Alford some dual action. Labriola has wrestled 69 matches for Nebraska the past two years, so a couple duals off would probably benefit him in the long run.

Projected Depth Chart

  1. Mikey Labriola (Jr.)
  2. Isaiah Alford (R-Fr.)