With Gable Steveson announcing his retirement from the sport of wrestling a few questions need to be asked. The main one being is there a chance he will come back being he said that his WWE contract was only two years and he is only 21 years old. The second one being who takes over in college, with all the talent there will it be Greg Kerkvliet, Mason Parris, Tony Cassioppi, Cohlton Schultz or possibly someone else coming out of nowhere.
Episode 24 of the Late Night Shots podcast with Greg Kerkvliet
Kerkvliet along with a lot of these other guys has been talked about since he was in high school way back. He and Gable have wrestled 4 times in recent memory and possibly before that. They meet in high school in a super match where Gable won 3-2. They met in the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2021 where Gable won 9-5 with Kerk being the only guy to score a takedown on Steveson that whole season. They meet at the Olympic Trials where Gable won 11-0 by tech, then they most recently met in the NCAA Semifinals where Gable won 8-3 which seemed to be the most competitive of all the matches Gable had.
The reason a lot of people think Kerk will win the title next season is due to him being the only guy that can replicate the foot speed of Gable Steveson. It was very apparent if you have watched any of their matches that Kerk is the only guy in all of college wrestling that can somewhat match the athleticism of Gable.
As far as weaknesses go he is not that big, but he has been injured so that probably has restricted his training a bit. When this man gets healthy he will be a scary sight.
Schultz has been around forever and what might surprise some people is that he was not always a heavyweight. A lot of people looked at Schultz coming into this season as a guy who would not be able to keep up with these smaller heavyweights that were typically quicker, just like they said the season before when he placed 4th.
Schultz’s defense is impeccable on the feet and the only real way to take him down would be to beat him clean of the shot which is near impossible with Gable being the only guy to actually do it in the finals.
Schultz has a big hit list already in college taking out guys like Mason Parris and Greg Kerkvliet. He does not wrestle the most stacked schedule being the only tier one heavyweight not out of the big ten but he is not a guy that should be overlooked by any means.
Looked rough this season but he was injured and announced after the season that he was suffering from a herniated disc.
Parris is known for his high attack rate and that patented dump which he has started to stray away from and diversify his offense which is good to see and has payed him well with these smaller more athletic heavyweights having better defense.
He placed 5th this season which is still a great finish and with his only two losses coming to Schultz and Kerkvliet at the national tournament it should be interesting to see if he can get back to his old form time come next season.
A lot of people were very high on Cassioppi this season and rightfully so with the incredible body transformation that he made. He won a U23 world title and looked like he could make the breakthrough to being that guy across from Gable in the national finals.
Time come the big ten tournament where it actually mattered Cassioppi suffered a torn mcl and that was apparent with his performance at nationals. He fell to Wood in the quarterfinals who was going to be a tough match either way but got ran through by Parris 11-5 before securing a 7th place finish.
Cassioppi will still be a guy to look out for make no doubt about it. If he is healthy do not be surprised if he is standing on the podium when all is said and done next season.
Guys that probably will not be able to win it but with a couple adjustments they could see themselves with a high up finish on the podium.
Episode 106 of the Late Night Shots podcast with Lucas Davison
Broke out this season and fast with some big wins to start off at the Michigan State Open. Lost a couple matches throughout the season to Tony Cassioppi and Gable Steveson but was able to make it out of a stacked Big Ten schedule with minimal losses showing that he could be consistent and make some moves.
The national tournament was where Davison saw some great success with a win over Matt Stencel in the round of 16. He pulled Gable Steveson in the quarterfinals 10-5 which is just a rough draw in general but was able to bounce back strong taking 6th. If he can put on a bit more size and get used to being a heavyweight he might see a high up finish and possibly pull something big off.
Episode 108 of the Late Night Shots podcast with Wyatt Hendrickson
Hendrickson did not have the greatest showing at the national tournament losing to Tate Orndorff in the round of 16. That is not evidently too bad falling to an All American but Hendrickson was able to finish an undefeated regular season and ended the season off as the nations pin leader.
His athleticism and high attack rate is what separated him from the majority of the field. Looking forward to next season he just needs to put on more weight. When we asked him in the podcast he said that he weighed under 230 pounds heading into nationals which caused a hinderance in his performance.