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Wrestling: Midseason Stock Report for #2-Ranked Nebraska

Huskers are off to a 3-0 start in duals with nine of their 10 starters ranked in the Top 33

Peyton Robb vs Trevor Chumbley
Nebraska’s Peyton Robb is 13-0 on the year and leads the team with 55 back points.
Dylan Guenther / Corn Nation

We’re now at the holiday break portion of the season, so let’s take stock in what we know now before we turn the page to 2024 and the Big Ten dual slate and postseason tournaments.

Out of its 10 starters, Nebraska has nine in the rankings and sits at #2 in the team rankings by FloWrestling. In duals, Nebraska is 3-0 with wins over North Dakota State, South Dakota State and Campbell. In tournaments, Nebraska won the Navy Classic before finishing second at the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas.

Not only will we recap the season these guys have had, but we have some more in-depth statistics to go over — like takedowns scored vs. given up and how many nearfall points scored.

125 pounds

#5 Caleb Smith (13-1 record)

In a weight class that’s been in disarray all year, Smith has been quietly putting together a top-level resume. He’s steadily moved his way up the rankings while starting the year with a 13-1 record. His one loss was a 4-2 decision to #7 Jore Volk of Wyoming at CKLV.

Smith’s biggest win of the year came in Vegas where he downed #3 Matt Ramos, last year’s NCAA finalist, 8-4 in a marathon of a tiebreaker match.

It’s no secret to anyone who has seen Smith wrestle that he gets a lot of takedowns with his speed and explosiveness, but he also has elite defense on the feet. In fact, going into CKLV Smith was yet to give up a takedown on the year. As it stands, Smith has scored 39 takedowns and given up just five. On the mat, Smith has scored 12 back points.

In his career, Smith holds a 69-17 record and is still just a junior as far as eligibility. Before joining Nebraska this summer, Smith was a two-time NCAA qualifier for Appalachian State. As a Mountaineer, Smith held a 56-16 career record and has since started his Husker career 13-1. At his current rate, Smith seems like a lock to get to 100 career wins.

133 pounds

#33 Jacob Van Dee (7-3)

A weight class where Nebraska has struggled a bit, the starter most of the season so far has been redshirt freshman Jacob Van Dee. In duals, Van Dee is 2-0 but went 2-2 and failed to place at CKLV, dropping matches to #19 Julian Farber and unranked Zeth Romney.

Statistically, Van Dee has scored 17 takedowns while giving up just five. He’s done a lot of his damage on the mat with 22 points via nearfall.

Also seeing action as a starter is junior Kyle Burwick, last year’s starter at 133. He’s 3-2 this year, most recently dropping a dual matchup against SDSU’s #17 Derrick Cardinal 6-1.

141 pounds

#6 Brock Hardy (9-3)

A sophomore, Brock Hardy started his season strong and is a perfect 3-0 in duals. He did have a disappointing CKLV though where he went 3-3 to finish in 6th place.

Hardy does have wins on the year over #7 Tagen Jamison of Oklahoma State (they split their matches at CKLV) and #13 Josh Koderhandt of Navy. But he also took losses to #9 Cael Happel and #3 Jesse Mendez.

Hardy has scored 24 takedowns this year while giving up 11. On the mat, he’s scored 21 nearfall points. He’s also in a three-way tie for the team lead with three wins via pinfall.

After starting a portion of the season as a true freshman in the shortened 2021 season, going 5-3 at 149 pounds before Ridge Lovett took over, Hardy redshirted in 2021-22. Last year, Hardy went 30-8 and earned All-American honors. Currently, Hardy is 44-14 in his career with two years of eligibility remaining after this season.

149 pounds

#1 Ridge Lovett (12-0)

After redshirting last year as a junior, 2022 NCAA finalist Ridge Lovett was named #1 before the season and has only cemented that status. He’s 12-0 on the year with a CKLV title. He has wins over #2 Caleb Henson of Virginia Tech, #5 Dylan D’Emilio of Ohio State, #13 Quinn Kinner of Rider, and #17 Kellyn March of NDSU.

Statistically, Lovett has been dominant this year. He’s scored 24 takedowns and given up just three so far. He’s also second on the team with 33 total nearfall points, showing his prowess in the top position.

With his hot start, Lovett is now 58-15 in his career. With a solid finish this year and another title-contending season as a senior next season, Lovett could add his name to Nebraska’s 100-win club, and more importantly the NCAA Champion club.

157 pounds

#3 Peyton Robb (13-0)

Forming one of the country’s best trios with Hardy and Lovett, Nebraska’s Peyton Robb has been perfect this year. He has wins over #4 Jacori Teemer of Arizona State, #8 Will Lewan of Michigan, and two shutout wins over #18 Cael Swensen of SDSU.

Robb has been arguably Nebraska’s most dominant wrestler. Not only has he scored 29 takedowns and given up just three, he’s also scored by far the most back points on the team with 55 in 13 matches. Robb honestly has no holes in his game and will absolutely challenge for a national title this March.

Robb leads the team in bonus-point wins with nine, including a team-leading six tech falls.

In his career, Robb now has an 88-27 career record. If he closes out his year like he’s started it, he’ll likely hit 100 career wins in the postseason.

165 pounds

#17 Antrell Taylor (9-2)

Nebraska’s Antrell Taylor has shown some highs and lows this year. He has immense potential and has shown it with some impressive takedowns and wins, but he also went 2-2 at CKLV with a major decision loss to unranked Stoney Buell of Purdue.

Taylor has been solid on his feet this season, scoring 30 takedowns while giving up just five. On the mat, Taylor hasn’t really shined. Like many wrestlers that prefer to keep the action on their feet, Taylor regularly cuts his opponent loose after a takedown rather than attempting a ride. On the year, he’s scored six nearfall points.

Taylor has it on his feet and has shown some impressive neutral defense, but if he wants to jump levels he’ll need to improve his game on top and on bottom.

174 pounds

#20 Bubba Wilson (3-3)

After losing his starting spot to Taylor in their wrestle-off, Wilson suffered an injury and tried to wrestle through it, going 3-2 at the Navy Classic at 165 pounds. It was later found out that Wilson had actually broken a rib.

He’s since gotten healthy and bumped up to 174 where Nebraska has struggled all year. A former two-time NCAA qualifier at 165, Wilson looks like Nebraska’s best option here after wrestling tough against #3 Cade DeVos of SDSU in a 4-2 decision loss that had the Devaney Center on its feet.

Nebraska has also started Elise Brown Ton and Adam Thebeau this year, while true freshman Christopher Minto has also impressed. Brown Ton is 12-4 on the year but 0-3 against DI competition and 0-1 in duals. A sophomore, Thebeau is 6-3 on the year and 1-0 in duals. Minto is 9-2 on the year and 6-1 against DI competition.

184 pounds

#4 Lenny Pinto (11-2)

One of Nebraska’s surprises this year has been the elevation in Lenny Pinto’s game. After going 22-11 and failing to All-American as a redshirt freshman last year, Pinto is off to a solid start.

He’s 3-0 in duals and had wins over #3 Dustin Plott of Oklahoma State, #12 Jaden Bullock of Michigan, and #13 Dylan Fishback of NC State at CKLV. He finished fourth after losing to Plott in their second match of the tournament. His losses on the year came to Plott and #1 Parker Keckeisen of UNI.

On the season, Pinto has secured 31 takedowns and given up 10. He’s also scored 15 nearfall points while adding three pins.

197 pounds

#13 Silas Allred (11-3)

This season hasn’t been the one most would have expected so far this season after Silas Allred burst onto the scene and won a Big Ten title as a redshirt freshman last season.

This year, Allred started the season with four wins before losing a pair of matches at CKLV against #5 Tanner Sloan and #8 Jacob Cardenas. At the Navy Classic, Allred made it to the final but fell to #12 Luke Stout. He has ranked wins on the year against #17 Levi Hopkins of Campbell, #19 Joey Novak of Wyoming, #24 Evan Bates of Northwestern and #29 Wyatt Voelker of UNI.

On the feet, Allred has shown the ability to score points, evidenced by his team-leading 40 takedowns while giving up eight. He’s added 14 nearfall points while securing eight bonus-point wins.

After going 25-7 a year ago, Allred is now 37-11 for his career.

285 pounds

Harley Andrews (4-6)

This weight has been Nebraska’s achilles heel the last couple seasons and the struggle continues. While he’s shown flashes, Harley Andrews has struggled this year against much bigger competition in the college ranks.

The redshirt freshman is 4-6 on the year and 0-2 in duals. He’s scored 10 takedowns while surrendering 15. He has scored 12 nearfall points.

A plus, Andrews has scored bonus points in all four of his wins with two pins, a tech and a major decision. Still a young guy, experience will do Andrews well as he develops.