Now that the 2021 class has been signed, sealed and delivered, it’s time to see who the new top dogs are in the national prep ranks.
The new high school rankings are out from FloWrestling and can be seen here (subscription required).
After putting together the No. 8-ranked recruiting class of 2021, Nebraska is off to a strong start for 2022. Nebraska has loaded up on top talent the last couple years, so it wouldn’t surprise me if this class remains a small one with somewhere around four signees.
That means Nebraska will need to fill this class with quality if it’s not going to bring in a big quantity. And they’ve done just that so far with Omaha’s Antrell Taylor (Millard South) and Oklahoma’s Harley Andrews (Tuttle).
Husker Commits in the Rankings
No. 6 ranked at 160 pounds
Class of 2022
The native of Omaha, Neb., Taylor has been committed to Nebraska for some time and starts his senior season ranked No. 6 in the country at 160 pounds. He’s been one of the best wrestlers in the state for a few years.
Going into his senior season, Taylor is already a two-time Class A State Champion and three-time finalist, falling short as a freshman. In 2021, Taylor pinned his way into the state final where he beat incoming Husker freshman Joshua Licking of Norfolk by major decision 18-5.
Antrell Taylor and Garrett Grice were human highlight reels at the 2021 Nebraska State Wrestling Championships. pic.twitter.com/84QFW8Ss7O— Trackwrestling (@trackwrestling) February 23, 2021
Since winning state earlier this year, Taylor has been active this offseason. He went 7-0 and outscored his opponents 69-0 at the Ultimate Club Duals in April before finishing fifth at the UWW Cadet World Team Trials a week later.
Then at the 2021 US Marine Corps Junior Nationals in Fargo, N.D., Taylor finished in fifth place in freestyle. His two losses came to wrestlers currently ranked No. 4 at 160 pounds and No. 4 at 170 pounds.
Going forward, it’s hard to predict where Taylor will slot in for Nebraska when he arrives next fall, but it will likely be either at 165 or 174 pounds. He could redshirt before taking over for Mikey Labriola at 174 or could be Peyton Robb’s eventual replacement at 165.
No. 4 ranked at 285 pounds
Class of 2022
A much-needed heavyweight in this class, Andrews has officially moved up to 285 pounds for his senior season and is ranked No. 4 in the country. After capturing state titles at 195 pounds as a sophomore and 220 as a junior, Andrews is seeking his third-straight title at the heaviest of weights.
In 2021, Andrews won all of his matches via pinfall to capture state gold.
Harley Andrews finishes his Oklahoma state title run with all falls and an undefeated season. pic.twitter.com/TkwpxcQ4cs— Trackwrestling (@trackwrestling) February 27, 2021
Over the summer, Andrews stayed active, first going 7-0 at the NHSCA National Duals helping his club team Team Kong United win the team title. Wrestling mostly at 220 pounds, Andrews earned an 8-4 win over then-No. 2 in the country Noah Pettigrew.
In July, Andrews competed at Junior Nationals in Fargo at 285 pounds and finished as an All-American despite having to injury forfeit his final two matches, finishing in 8th-place.
Andrews is the unquestioned future starter at heavyweight for the Huskers. After Christian Lance expires his eligibility this season, Andrews could start as a true freshman in 2022 or may redshirt while Cale Davidson holds the spot for his senior year. Either way, Andrews will be starting for Nebraska by the 2023-24 season at the latest.
Nebraska Natives in the Rankings
Joel Adams (Millard South)
No. 5 ranked at 138 pounds
Class of 2023 - Uncommitted
As a sophomore, Adams won his first state title at 138 pounds and kept his momentum going this summer. Previously unranked, Adams shot up all the way to No. 5 in the country at 138 pounds with a dominant performance at cadet nationals in Fargo.
Joel Adams is a baaaaad man. After winning a Freestyle title, He's in the Greco finals at 138 against Brady Collins. pic.twitter.com/tGHb0862E4— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) July 22, 2021
Wrestling in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, Adams went a combined 13-0 in both disciplines and won double gold medals. In Greco, Adams outscored his opponents 68-1, but his freestyle title came with more resistance, as he downed Pennsylvania hammer Tyler Kasek 7-6 in come-from-behind fashion in the final (video below).
Looking ahead, Nebraska has some major needs at both 141 and 149 pounds, depending on whether Brock Hardy can get down to 141 pounds to replace Chad Red Jr. after this season.
Either way, Adams looks like he will project to either 141 or 149 in college, so his possible commitment would be huge for Nebraska in that it would keep a top talent in the state and also fill a major need.
Kael Lauridsen (Bennington)
No. 15 ranked at 120 pounds
Class of 2023 - Uncommitted
Lauridsen was an undefeated state champion at 106 pounds as a freshman for Bennington before pinning his way through the Nebraska state tournament as a sophomore at 113 pounds for his second state title.
The junior-to-be is ranked No. 15 in the country at 120 pounds after an unbelievable summer. Not only did he win double golds at the Cadet Pan American Championships in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, he went on to win a national title in Greco at Fargo in July while finishing 4th in freestyle. See his dominant Greco finals win below.
With Liam Cronin done after this season at 125 pounds, Nebraska will only have one wrestler on the roster at that weight in Jeremiah Reno. Nebraska has a huge need at 125 and should probably target someone at that weight in the 2022 class, but securing a commitment from Lauridsen for 2023 would be huge for the Huskers.
Tyler Antoniak (Millard South)
No. 18 ranked at 145 pounds
Class of 2023 - Uncommitted
Antoniak is heavily credentialed already as he heads to his junior year. A state champ as a freshman, Antoniak went on to win a Cadet World Championship in Greco-Roman in 2019. He’ll start the season ranked No. 18 in the country at 145 pounds.
Also a two-time Fargo national champ in Greco, Antoniak won his latest title in July at 145 pounds in the junior division, downing Jack Milos of Illinois in the final (see below).
Again, if the Huskers can secure a commitment from Antoniak, it would help solidify its future at either 149 or 157 pounds, depending how big the Millard South product gets.
Garrett Grice (Bellevue East)
No. 12 ranked at 132 pounds
Class of 2022 - Virginia Commit
A Nebraska native, Grice is currently committed to Virginia going into his senior year at Bellevue East. Ranked No. 12 at 132 pounds, Grice is a three-time state champion with only one career loss to current Oklahoma State freshman Jakason Burks.
Grice chose the Cavaliers over the Huskers, among others.
Ideal Husker Outcome...
If Nebraska can secure commitments from Adams, Lauridsen and Antoniak, it would form an incredibly solid foundation for the class, especially if Nebraska can lure a couple blue-chippers from out of state.
This Nebraska trio would not only keep the best talent in the state, but they all three could fill positions of need for the Huskers.