|157||Starter||Next Man||Possible Redshirt|
|JR||Luke Weber||Nick Knutson|
The Bison have a legit big-school depth “problem” at 157 and I love it. On one hand, you have the Big Ten transfer in Luke Weber who was absolutely NCAA qualifier-caliber last season. On the other, you have West Fargo product Jared Franek, who was a legit big school recruit in the class of 2018 after winning a Cadet national title and finishing runner-up as a junior. Weber was on the outside looking in at NCAA tournament qualification not because he wasn’t one of the 33 best guys in the country, but because the Big 12 didn’t manage to receive any automatic qualifying bids for the 157 pound weight class. A lot of that had to to with the fact that Weber didn’t have enough matches as a transfer, and the fact that Oklahom State wrestled three different guys there throughout the season. It wasn’t a perfect year for Weber, but in his first home match of the season he defeated this year’s #10 ranked Taleb Rahmani of Pitt 10-4. Rahmani was up and down last season, but it certainly shows what Weber is capable of.
When Jared Franek chose to stay home and attend NDSU, most would’ve assumed he would jump right into the lineup after a redshirt season. That might still happen, but Weber is a massive roadblock standing in the way. Franek was solid during his redshirt season, but only wrestled twelve times as he spent some time recovering from injuries. Though he won ten of twelve bouts, his two losses came to the only real competition he faced. A 14-3 loss to Iowa’s Jaren Glosser (Glosser saw starting time for the Hawkeyes as an injury fill-in and is widely considered one of the best 157 pound backup in the country) and 11-3 loss to Big 12 champion Chase Straw of Iowa State at the UNI Panther Open certainly indicated that more development is needed for Franek to make an immediate impact against the nation’s best wrestlers. That said, development is exactly what a redshirt season is for. If the Weber/Franek match happens at the Green/Gold Scrimmage in October, it will be worth the price of admission. It would be awesome if the Bison had this “problem” at every weight.
|133||Starter||Next Man||Potential Redshirt|
Now a three-time NCAA qualifier, Fogarty enters his senior season with one last chance to break through and make the podium. For the second consecutive year, Fogarty was Big Ten runner-up after upsetting Wyoming’s Branson Ashworth in the Big 12 semifinal. He finished 2-2 at the NCAA tournament, losing to All American Evan Wick of Wisconsin and Te’Shan Campbell of Ohio State along the way. 165 does not lose much, but NCAA champion Mekhi Lewis (who is taking an olympic redshirt) and Michigan’s Logan Mass are taking olympic redshirts, and Chance Marsteller graduated, so Fogarty will have to find a way to break through against guys like Northern Iowa’s Bryce Steiert to make the podium. NDSU should feel confident they are getting a dual victory every time Fogarty takes the mat this season, and his top wrestling leads to bonus points and pins after.
The backup here is likely to be St. Cloud’s Austin Brenner. Brenner was 12-7 as a redshirt last season.