A look back at the countdown:
Determining a wrestler’s ceiling can be a difficult proposition, especially when you consider that Nebraska’s wrestlers are at different points in their careers. So different criteria will be used based on what each wrestler has accomplished as well as potential and time left in the program.
For instance, a senior-to-be who’s already secured All-American honors has hit a certain level and maybe has shown more definitively what his ceiling is. On the other hand, an incoming freshman hasn’t accomplished anything at the collegiate level, but their experience and accolades in high school and on the junior circuit can generally give a good indication of how good they can be in college.
Continuing our Top 10 Huskers with the highest ceilings, we have true freshman Jeremiah Reno.
The 125-pound weight class is a tough spot to fill for a lot of programs around the country, including the Huskers. Many times, guys outgrow the weight class so you’re required to be constantly scouring the super lightweights in the high school ranks. But the Huskers may have locked up a top-tier talent that could be a career 125-pounder. That’s fairly rare.
Jeremiah Reno is an extremely decorated wrestler out of Liberty High School in Kansas City, Mo. The incoming freshman won state titles in 2017-18 (106 pounds), 2019 (113) and 2020 (120). He finished his high school career with an unblemished 179-0 record.
Reno was ranked No. 4 in the country at 120 pounds according to InterMat and won his final high school match 12-3 for a major decision and another state title. He has a very aggressive style and likes to get after his opponent, as you can see in the below video from the Kansas City Metro Classic wrestling dual between Kansas and Missouri with Reno in the blue singlet.
Nationally, Reno has shown why he’s such a highly regarded recruit with some big wins. He has a Fargo Junior Freestyle National Championship and a cadet national title to his credit. In folkstyle, which is the form that college wrestling uses, Reno finished second at the 2018 Cadet Folkstyle Nationals.
As I said, 125 pounds is a tough weight class to fill year in and year out, and Nebraska’s no different. The past three years, Nebraska’s starting 125-pounders have been a liability at times, owning a combined 42-43 record. The past three seasons, Nebraska has had a new starter each year. In 2018, Dylan Gowin went 16-16, while Zeke Moisey went 13-12 the next year. Then this past season, freshman Alex Thomsen went 13-15.
Nebraska brought in a transfer at 125 from Indiana to help add experience and maybe hold the spot down while Reno redshirts. Liam Cronin owns a 42-31 record through three years. It’s not a dominant record, but I believe it’s a slight upgrade over Thomsen at this point in his career. Cronin did go 2-1 against Thomsen this past season, but he’s not going to compete with a guy like Spencer Lee of Iowa, who just won the Hodge Trophy as the country’s most outstanding wrestler.
So, I would assume that this year is a redshirt year for Reno. Come 2021, watch out. Reno will take and hold that 125-pound spot for years to come. He’s a rarity, so I think you’ll see Reno securing All-American status multiple years. With his high school perfection and impressive national resume, Reno could turn into a conference champ and a contender for the NCAA title. It’s hard to figure out for freshmen, but with a redshirt year, I think Reno will be pretty dominant from the beginning.
The 2021-22 season will be one with a lot of new faces in the starting lineup, as Nebraska is set to start four or five seniors this season. A lot of those new faces in 2021-22 will be joining Reno this season in a redshirt. It’ll be a fun time to see if all the top-level talent that’s come in recently can translate to the Big Ten in the coming years.