The Nebraska wrestling team made a big announcement this week.
The Huskers will welcome back five senior starters from last year’s team back for another year.
With this news, Nebraska is in position to be one of the best teams in the country this year. Not only will Nebraska welcome back a plethora of experience and accolades, it’ll be able to redshirt most of a big 2020 recruiting class.
News broke from FloWrestling in April that seniors Liam Cronin (125 pounds) and Chad Red Jr. (141) would be returning for the 2021-22 season, but the big news came on Thursday that Taylor Venz (184), Eric Schultz (197) and Christian Lance (285) would also be returning for Nebraska.
You can see a breakdown of how Cronin and Red’s decisions impact Nebraska here, But with this trio of upper weights coming back, Nebraska is legitimately going to be a contender.
Impact at 184
Last season, Taylor Venz wasn’t in the lineup the entire year, but he was Nebraska’s postseason representative. The senior made it to the Big Ten final before falling to Aaron Brooks of Penn State. Venz qualified for the NCAA tournament but didn’t place.
Venz holds a 82-30 career record and is a two-time All-American but hasn’t seemed to really put a full year together. Maybe this year will be different.
Behind Venz, Nebraska had a pair of true freshmen in Nathan Haas and Brandyn Van Tassell. Haas started three duals for Nebraska and opened his career by knocking off then-No. 19 Owen Webster of Minnesota in a dual. He went 2-2 on the year. Van Tassell went 3-2 on the year in extra matches.
With Venz coming back, Nebraska should be able to let both Haas and Van Tassell have proper redshirt years while letting Venz finish out his career.
Impact at 197
For Nebraska, one of the most important decisions was from Eric Schultz. The four-time NCAA qualifier has yet to get on the podium and I think he’s ready to put an exclamation point on his career.
Schultz went 12-3 this past season and made it to the Big Ten Final where he fell to Michigan’s Myles Amine.
The senior has a 86-30 career record and is a two-time Big Ten runner-up.
Behind Schultz, Nebraska has true freshman Silas Allred who was one of the country’s top recruits in 2020. He went 144-2 in high school with 139 wins by pinfall. That’s an absurd pin rate of 96.5%. As a senior, he went 39-0 with 39 pins for his second straight state title.
Allred went 1-1 in extra matches in 2021 as a true freshman. With Schultz’s return, Allred will benefit from a true redshirt year before taking over at 197 in 2022.
Impact at 285
Christian Lance returns to head the heaviest of weights for Nebraska this season. The senior went 10-7 last year while finishing fifth at Big Tens and qualifying for the NCAA tournament. As a Husker, Lance has a career 27-16 record after transferring from Fort Hays State.
Lance recently finished seventh at Senior Nationals with a win over Ohio State’s Tate Orndorff.
Behind Lance, Nebraska has a load of options. Juniors Cale Davidson and Landon Brown figure to be the next men up. Davidson went 6-0 last year in extra matches while Brown went 1-0. Nebraska also has sophomore Austin Emerson and freshman Zak Taylor. Taylor should redshirt this year.