* Senior David Jensen (2-year starter)
Who’s Coming Back?
*Grades representative of upcoming 2020-21 season
* Senior Christian Lance (part-time starter in 2019-20)
* Junior Cale Davidson (Transferred from Wyoming during 2019-20 season)
* Redshirt Sophomore Austin Emerson
*Recruiting rankings from InterMat
* Landon Brown (R-Jr.) (junior college commit from Western Wyoming)
* Zak Taylor (Fr.)
Heavyweight is arguably the hardest weight class to pin down for the Huskers this upcoming season. The Huskers lose David Jensen, a guy who’s started about 75 percent of the time the last two seasons and was Nebraska’s postseason wrestler each of the past two years. Jensen doesn’t get enough credit, as he was overshadowed by other heavyweights in the Big Ten, which lays claim to the three best heavyweights in the country. He was a solid contributor for a Husker team that finished 2nd at the 2020 Big Ten Tournament.
Nebraska returns three wrestlers while adding two new bodies, so the Huskers have plenty of options for what I anticipate being an open competition.
The Huskers return senior Christian Lance who started for about half of the 2019-20 season, but he was overtaken by Jensen toward the end of the season. After an 8-0 start to the season, Lance hit an upgrade in talent and finished the season 2-7 through his final nine matches against Division I opponents, the majority being from the Big Ten. The 2018 transfer from Fort Hays State (Division II), Lance is a fairly solid wrestler, but if the Huskers want to take a step forward, they need more production from their big guys.
Then there’s Cale Davidson. An in-season transfer from Wyoming, Davidson wrestled early in the season at 197 pounds for the Cowboys (went 4-0, winning the elite bracket at the 2019 Cowboy Open), but Nebraska took him on as a projected heavyweight. Apparently he spent the winter packing on mass because he wrestled at 285 pounds for the Huskers in February and performed well. The transfer went 6-2 on the day, with one of his losses coming as a forfeit because he had reached the NCAA’s match limit for a single day. During the tournament, Davidson squared off against a familiar face in teammate Austin Emerson. The junior-to-be Davidson beat Emerson 4-1. He will have every opportunity to win the starting gig.
Then there’s sophomore-to-be Emerson. After going 19-6 during his redshirt year, Emerson finished this past season with an 11-8 record competing in open tournaments. Emerson was a highly-touted recruit, but it feels like he’s still developing.
As if that weren’t enough competition, the Husker coaches brought in two newcomers, one from the junior college ranks and one from high school.
In comes Landon Brown. The junior comes by way of Western Wyoming Community College and brings some accolades with him. Brown finished third at the 2019 junior college nationals. If anything, he’ll add depth and competition to the room, pushing everyone to get better. I really think this competition will be wide open, so he will have every opportunity to win the job.
Freshman Zak Taylor joins Nebraska from St. Edward. An Ohio native, Taylor was a sectional champion and a state qualifier as a senior. He’ll most likely redshirt.
I see a few different levels throughout this weight class. I believe the starting spot will come down to eigher Cale Davidson or Christian Lance. Then there’s a drop off to the next two guys in Austin Emerson and Landon Brown. With an entire spring and summer to get bigger, I see Davidson seizing the opportunity and starting for the Huskers, who will benefit from such a plethora of depth.
Projected Depth Chart
- Cale Davidson (Junior)
- Christian Lance (Sr.)
- Landon Brown (R-Jr.)
- Austin Emerson (R-Soph.)
- Zak Taylor (Fr.) (Redshirting)