As we turn our attention to the 2020-21 collegiate season, whenever that may take place, a group of 12 freshmen stands out. These wrestlers were all in the Class of 2019 and are set to make their collegiate debuts in 2020-21 (maybe). We couldn’t call this the “Redshirt Freshmen to Watch” feature because technically, some did not actually redshirt (Cornell), while another went to prep school. However you want to label them, these 12 wrestlers stood out from the pack in 2019-20 while wrestling unattached. Their performance in open tournaments earned 11 of the 12 a place in the top-20 in TOM’s pre-preseason rankings. The other wrestler was mentioned in the top-33.
Jaden Abas (Stanford) 149 lbs
2019 Recruiting Ranking: #11
The 2020-21 campaign is critical for the future of Stanford wrestling. This spring, the school’s athletic department announced that they would cut wrestling, along with ten other varsity programs after the 2020-21. Supporters and alumni rallied immediately and have been fighting to get the administration to reconsider. Coach Jason Borrelli’s Cardinal team could make this more of a difficult decision for the athletic department based on their on-mat performance. Sophomores Real Woods and Shane Griffith are back and combined to lose only a single match during their first season of competition. Both are expected to be title contenders. Add Jaden Abas into the mix, along with a veteran cast and there’s the outside shot at a top-ten finish at nationals. Abas went 23-4 during his redshirt season and did not lose a match after November. His run to close the season included titles at the Reno Tournament of Champions, the Southern Scuffle and the California Collegiate Open. At the Scuffle, Abas downed two-time national qualifier, Josh Finesilver (Duke), and Andrew Alirez (Northern Colorado), another superstar from the Class of 2019 who earned the #14 seed at the 2020 NCAA Tournament.
2020-21 Pre-Preseason Ranking: #12
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