The Huskers released their 2022-23 non-conference schedule yesterday, and it’s a salty slate. Once you factor in a Big Ten schedule, Nebraska may have one of the toughest overall schedules in the nation.
Nebraska starts with a home matchup against North Dakota State on Nov. 4. The Bison finished 33rd at the NCAA Championships in March. Based on FloWrestling’s Way Too Early 2022-23 NCAA DI Rankings (subscription required), NDSU has five ranked wrestlers returning, led by Jared Franek, the No. 8-ranked wrestler at 157 pounds.
Then the Huskers will take on both Army and NC State in a triangular on Nov. 12. NC State is a powerhouse in wrestling and finished 10th at NCAAs in March. The Wolfpack have seven ranked wrestlers going into the 2022-23 season, led by No. 3-ranked Trent Hidlay at 184 pounds. Then, Army comes in with one ranked wrestler, No. 20 Ben Pasiuk at 174 pounds.
Nebraska will then travel to compete at both the Navy Classic (Nov. 19) and the Cliff Keen Invitational (Dec. 2-3). The Cliff Keen Invite is traditionally one of the toughest preseason tournaments in the country. The Huskers are the two-time defending champions after winning last year’s tournament against the likes of Ohio State, Michigan and Northwestern.
Nebraska then travels to South Dakota State on Dec. 18. The Jackrabbits finished 44th at the NCAA tournament in March and bring back a solid bunch. With six ranked wrestlers, SDSU is led by No. 7-ranked Clay Carlson at 141 pounds.
The Huskers then head on the road to take on Campbell (w/ Gardner Webb) on Jan. 7. Campbell doesn’t have any ranked wrestlers, but it finished 36th at NCAAs.
On Feb. 19, Nebraska welcomes one of wrestling’s heavyweights to town in Arizona State. The Sun Devils have one of the best returning lineups in the country, led by No. 1-ranked heavyweight Cohlton Schultz who lost to Olympic Champion Gable Steveson in the NCAA final in March. They also boast No. 3 Michael McGee (133 pounds), No. 5 Jacori Teemer (157), No. 6 Brandon Courtney (125), No. 7 Kyle Parco (149) and No. 13 Kordell Norfleet (197).
In the middle of conference season, this dual is going to be a big deal.
Transfer Portal Updates
Nebraska graduated four senior starters from last year, and rather than looking at the transfer portal it’s looking within to some upcoming talent to fill those spots. With 19 freshmen on the roster (33 total on roster), Nebraska has a load of talent coming up the pipe and doesn’t need to look for transfers to fill spots. That’s due to some solid recruiting the past few seasons.
However, the Huskers seem poised to lose a few wrestlers to the portal. Former Husker Kevon Davenport (149 pounds) entered the portal during the season and has since landed at Illinois.
Since the season ended, the Huskers have seen three wrestlers enter the portal.
The most surprising was last season’s 125-pound starter Jeremiah Reno. The freshman was pressed into action when senior Liam Cronin was injured early in the season. Reno struggled throughout the season, going 4-15 on the year.
Tucker Sjomeling is in the portal as a graduate transfer. Sjomeling was a part-time starter in 2020-21 and holds a 24-16 career record at Nebraska.
Lastly, junior Jordan Kelber also entered the portal. A former three-time Nebraska state champ for Valentine, Kelber went 5-6 at Nebraska.