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NU Wrestling’s 197-pound Outlook

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Nebraska brings back NCAA title contender and adds top-shelf recruit

Eric Schultz will be expected to lead the Huskers this next season
Dylan Guenther / CORN NATION

Previous weight-class previews: 125, 133, 141, 149, 157, 165, 174, 184

Who’s Leaving?

* No graduations

Who’s Coming Back?

*Grades representative of upcoming 2020-21 season

* Senior Eric Schultz (3-year starter)

* Senior Cade Svoboda

* Redshirt Sophomore Anthony Gaona

New Arrivals?

*Recruiting rankings from InterMat

* Freshman Silas Allred (No. 4 ranked at 195 pounds)

Analysis

This is another weight class where the Huskers have enjoyed major stability and have set themselves up nicely for years to come. Eric Schultz comes back for his senior season after establishing himself as an elite 197-pounder as a junior. Schultz compiled a 23-4 record while going 12-1 in dual competition in the Big Ten, the toughest conference in wrestling.

After finishing runner-up to Ohio State’s Kollin Moore (the nation’s clear top guy at 197, who was a senior) at the Big Ten Tournament, Schultz was peaking going into the NCAA tournament with the No. 3-seed. With Moore graduating out of his way (Schultz went 0-6 against Moore in his career), Schultz looks like one of the favorites to win a national championship in 2021. It’ll likely come down to Schultz and West Virginia’s Noah Adams (went 32-0 as a sophomore in 2019-20, winning the Big 12 title) who earned the NCAA 2-seed this past season.

Adams’ last loss came in the 2019 NCAA tournament, a 7-2 setback to Schultz. Out of the entire Husker lineup, I would give Schultz the best chance to win an individual national title this upcoming season, based on both his ability and the graduation of the puzzle from Ohio State who he just couldn’t solve.

Jon Johnston / Corn Nation

Behind Schultz, there’s Cade Svoboda who went 5-5 as a backup. The senior-to-be from Ord, Neb. seems like a viable backup option, but I don’t anticipate Schultz taking many matches off.

Then there’s sophomore-to-be Anthony Gaona. After going 18-9 while redshirting, Gaona didn’t take the mat for the Huskers this year. It’s unclear what his status is for 2020-21 and beyond.

Most importantly, the Huskers needed an heir apparent for Schultz, and they’re bringing in one of the best in the country. Silas Allred, an Indiana native, just finished off his high school career with his second consecutive state title. Allred was otherworldly dominant as a senior, going 39-0 with 39 pins.

Allred, the No. 4-ranked 195-pounder in the country, went 144-2 in high school including 139 wins by pinfall. Obviously he’s a pinning machine, so if he can translate that dominance to the Division I level, he’ll fill in nicely when Schultz graduates. Bonus point wins are huge at the college level, and Allred has as much bonus potential as anyone in the country.

Prediction

Again, Nebraska has a clear-cut starter in Schultz. The senior has a very real shot at winning an individual title, leading the way for a big year for the Huskers as a team. They also have enough depth to redshirt their top recruit in anticipation of his starting as a redshirt freshman in 2021-22.

Projected Depth Chart

  1. Eric Schultz (Sr.)
  2. Cade Svoboda (Sr.)
  3. Anthony Gaona (R-Soph.)
  4. Silas Allred (Fr.) (Redshirting)