Top Ten NCAA Pound For Pound Wrestlers


Who are the top ten wrestlers in the NCAA at the moment? Who will end up in the top 10 when the season is over. My team and I have analyzed the entire field and put together our top 10, how does yours line up?

Honorable Mentions:

Daton Fix- Fix has been one of the most impressive young wrestler in this offseason making his second World Team this time up at 61kg in a stacked weight class with Nick Suriano, Nathan Tomasello, and Tyler Graff. He ended up cruising into the World Finals where he fell to none other than Abasgadzhi Magomedov. He will have a big season ahead of him being that he is a two time NCAA Finalist and has came up short both times in overtime. If Fix can carry the momentum over from the offseason into college he will have a very good chance to claim his first NCAA Title.

Stevan Micic- Micic has been on the college scene for longer than pretty much everyone entering his 8th year of college. He is an Olympian that competed in Tokyo a few months ago and he got first rounded by Yuki Takahashi of Japan. Surprisingly enough he has not won a NCAA Title. He made the finals back in 2018 where he fell just short to South Dakota State’s Seth Gross. He has declared his bump up to 141 pounds, and if he can bring that success he has had and make the best of his final season he will be making waves in an insanely stacked 141 pound field.

Michael Kemerer- Kemerer is one of the biggest names in Iowa wrestling currently. He looked right on track to win the National Finals at 174 pounds over freshman Carter Starocci after his dominant win over him at Big Tens. However things took a turn, Starocci was able to keep it tied until overtime where he took one good attack and it hit. Who knows what would have happened if Kemerer won that match. Would he be back in college for one final run? We don’t know, but what we can say is that he motivated more than ever in his final season.

Mason Parris- Parris has been one of the best heavyweight wrestlers in this country for a couple of years. It does not really do his skill justice having a man like Gable Steveson ahead of him where ever he decides to go. However he has been able to prove on multiple occasions that he is the second best man in this very stacked weight class behind the Olympic Champion. Maybe his goal is not going to be to beat Gable even though that is something he is going to be striving for. Guys like Greg Kerkvliet, Tony Cassioppi, and World Team Member Cohlton Schultz will all be coming for him and his biggest test will be if he can hold them off one more time.

Jaydin Eierman- There is not enough that you can say about Jaydin Eierman and what he has done. He has one thing left to accomplish before he leaves college and that is a National Title. He has placed 5th, 4th, 3rd, and 2nd respectively. It is his last year and it is pretty obvious what he is looking for. He was a Big Ten Champion last season in his first year with Iowa where he defeated Nick Lee in the finals but ultimately fell in the NCAA Finals. They will most likely be running it back this season.

Our Top 10

#10 Myles Amine

Myles Amine is by far the most accomplished wrestler to NOT win a NCAA Title being an Olympic Bronze Medalist. This is his final season and his last chance to get it done. He took 4th place at Nationals as a freshman, 3rd as a sophomore, and 3rd again as a junior. Last year in the Covid year he took 3rd yet again after he fell to eventual NCAA Champion AJ Ferrari in the semifinals at 197 pounds. This year he is back down at 184 pounds which is a weight class that should favor him much more in his goals to become a National Champion. In his weight class he will have defending champion Aaron Brooks of Penn State along with others that are not far behind. Those guys include Trent Hidlay, John Poznanski, and Parker Keckeisen. If he wants to get it done he needs to figure it out before big tens where he will meet 2 out of 4 of these guys. It will be a good season for Myles Amine and it will be fun to see if he can finally get it done.

#9 David Carr

David Carr is a very interesting one, sure he was not the projected guy to win last season. When Ryan Deakin was stunned in the semifinals he took the opportunity and made the best of it. With the recent field at 157 pounds and Austin O’Connor going down and David Carr being taken to overtime by Peyton Robb it shows that the depth is there and should not be overlooked. Carr right now is still number 1 at 157 pounds while Ryan Deakin moves into the number 2 spot. This season Carr comes in as the clear favorite but Deakin is the main threat and having wins over pretty much everyone in the field Carr is going to need to wrestle great to take this win. Overall Carr has not had a problem with most guys as he has dominated. He was able to keep his composure in a very tough match again Nebraska’s Peyton Robb and come out in overtime when he was trailing pretty much all of regulation. He will be a very interesting wrestler to watch and see if he can defend his title.

#8 Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is one of four National Champions from Penn State last season. Him being number 8 on the list and not any higher mainly comes from his close margin wins and pretty much only that. He is looking much better in his Sophomore campaign already with bonus points and can definitely be moving up higher on this list as time goes on. Now that being said the aforementioned Myles Amine will 100% be looking to take the title as well. This is a not a person that we have seen Brooks wrestle yet. At the moment judging by what we have seen it looks like Amine would win this matchup. Brooks however this season has been very consistent and has not had any close matchups. I think Brooks looks like he is only getting better and has the ability to win close matches but so does Amine, this will be a very fun season.

#7 Carter Starocci

Carter Starocci made big waves last season with him winning a NCAA Title as a freshman over senior Michael Kemerer putting him along with AJ Ferrari as the only two guys that can become 5x NCAA Champions. Since that performance he has done very well for himself on the senior level with possibly his biggest win coming at the World Team Trials to teammate and 3x NCAA Champion Jason Nolf 4-3. As crazy as it is to say it looks like he is the most improved guy on this Penn State lineup and he was insane before this season. The biggest change that is visible is his ability to get to offense. Last season he looked like his mentality was to fight and win. Now his mindset looks more to score points and score them at will. I think we will be looking at a Carter Starocci repeat this season but let’s see what Michael Kemerer has to say about it.

#6 AJ Ferrari

Love him or hate him, he did it. He backed up everything that he said and won a National Title as a freshman. Everyone seems to be rooting against him at this point in time with the 197 pound weight class looking much stronger with Pat Brucki, Braxton Amos and more coming into the field. Last season Ferrari was in the same position as Carter Starocci in the sense that he would fight and claw his way to the one point wins. Which you love to see in freshman the ability to fight with these guys that are 4-5 years older than them and not back down. This season in the few matches we have seen he looks dominant. There really is not some other way to describe it. He will take you down, he will ride you out on top, and he will not be held down on bottom. One of his biggest upsides is his strength as we all knew but just now can we really see it when he takes shots and gets stuffed underneath. 99% of guys will just hang on to the leg and wait for the stalemate, not AJ Ferrari he gets his head up and drives through you and he does it with success. I think we are looking at a Ferrari repeat this season but who knows it is only November.

#5 Roman Bravo-Young

RBY is the most entertaining wrestler to watch on the college wrestling scene. This is not much he cannot do. He is fast, he is strong, and he can wrestle. Every time he steps out on that mat he puts on a show and a fun one at that. He was just a regular kid when he walked into the field then we all know the infamous backflip single against Lehigh which made him popular. He ended up as an All American that season in the hardest bracket there was and it was only up from there. Last season was his most impressive of all. He dominated Austin Desanto in the Big Ten finals and most people knew that would happen. However Daton Fix seemed to be another level to this with him being a returning National Finalist in the weight class Bravo-Young placed 8th in and Fix having the insane freestyle accolades along with that. RBY did it, he found a way the match went to overtime and Fix shot in, he used his lightning quick speed to get a counter attack and boom, he was a National Champion. This season does not look to be much different. Maybe he can get past Daton Fix again but it will be a great match and only time will tell.

#4 Yianni Diakomihalis

Yianni Diakomihalis has been one of the hottest freestyle wrestlers in this country for a while. In his third trials he finally made a World Team beating Joey McKenna 2-1 in the series. He ended up losing to Vazgen Tevanyan as expected in that bracket, but that being said 65kg is the deepest weight in the world even if it was not at full strength. On the folkstyle scene he has been very impressive as well but has not had the dominance which is why he is number four on this list which is also due to his move up to 149 pounds. He has had one match this season and is first folkstyle match in close to 2 years. He defeated Stanford’s Jaden Abas 3-1. A win is a win but he will need to get back in the groove if he looks to capture his third NCAA Title this season. His main competitor at 149 pounds looks to be Sammy Sasso of Ohio State since NCAA Champion Austin O’ Connor of North Carolina moved up to 157 pounds. Yianni has a win over Sasso on the freestyle scene but they have yet to meet on the college level. Yianni is not too big of a bonus point guy and Sasso can wrestle. Obviously Yianni will be a huge favorite here but it will be a year that needs to fall into place for Yianni Diakomihalis.

#3 Nick Lee

Pace, that is the name of the game for Nick Lee. He was not supposed to be “that guy” coming into college. He was looked at to be one of those guys that would be an All American consistently but probably never be able to put it together. He shut that down real quick last season when he defeated Iowa’s Jaydin Eierman in the NCAA Finals. What is more impressive is what he has done since. At the Olympic Trials he lost 8-5 to Jordan Oliver who ended up winning the tournament, nobody really batted an eye at this match. Then time came for consolations he wrestled Zain Retherford who is also a teammate at the NLWC and ended up defeating him 10-4 in dominant fashion. He also met Yianni Diakomihalis where he almost teched the two time National Champion and ended up winning 16-8 and after all of this made the USA National Team. Looking at this season another big name has entered the field at 141 pounds and that is Olympian Stevan Micic. Will Nick Lee be able to pull off the 2 peat or does someone have something to say about that? We will find out soon enough.

#2 Spencer Lee

Spencer Lee has been one of the most dominant wrestlers in college since he stepped foot on a mat. He has some insane wins during his career as a Hawkeye including Nick Suriano, Nathan Tomasello, Sebastian Rivera, and Pat Glory. He will be looking for his 4th NCAA Title this season which will put him in a category with some of the greatest ever in Cael Sanderson, Pat Smith, Kyle Dake, and Logan Steiber. He has not wrestled at all this season due to injury and will most likely be out till close to Big Tens. Can he get this done again? Probably, will injuries make it hard? Absolutely. Lee has done it before while injured and there is no doubt he can do it again. He will most likely have to do it against Pat Glory being that Vito Arujau is officially up to 133 pounds. If Spencer Lee pulls off the 4 peat it will be a very fun year and he is definitely in the position that he needs to be for that to happen. Can anyone catch him? Probably not, however crazier things have happened.

#1 Gable Steveson

Who else but Gable Steveson to be number 1 on this list. What has this man not done? He is an Olympic Champion and National Champion. He knocked off two of the greatest heavyweights of all time en route to his Olympic Gold Medal run. That includes defending Olympic Champion Taha Akgul, and 3x World Champion Geno Petriashvili. His college wrestling resume is nothing short of impressive as well with only 2 losses as supposed to Lee’s 5 and them both coming in his true freshman season by only a single point. Gable seems to be the clear favorite at 285 and the same goes for Lee at 125. Now the main question comes to light, who wins the hodge trophy? We have two of the greatest wrestlers college wrestling has seen competing at the same time. Gable has the freestyle accolades and Lee has the folkstyle accolades and is a year older. The hodge trophy race will be interesting and will probably fluctuate back and forth for a while. There are five World Champions at 285 pounds. Can any of them take out Gable Steveson?

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Akil Murugan
Akil Murugan
Senior Editor for Heavyweight Nation

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