With the news out of Ann Arbor that Adam Coon will redshirt for the upcoming season due to injury, a Michigan team that once looked to be as strong as they have been in some time is further weakened. In addition, the heavyweight class loses a top contender, opening up another spot on the podium and narrowing the list of contenders.
The Michigan Wolverines once appeared to be bringing back four All-Americans in Conor Youtsey, Alec Pantaleo, Brian Murphy and Adam Coon, 2016 Big 10 champ Domenic Abounader as well as impact freshmen Stevan Micic and Logan Massa. That was before two-time All-American Conor Youtsey, who had already graduated, decided not to use his final year of wrestling eligibility and moved on. Now, with another two-time All-American getting injured, the ceiling for the Wolverines has been lowered a bit. The loss of Youtsey wasn’t terribly damaging with Austin Assad as a solid replacement, but the loss of Coon, a potential finalist and nearly a lock to finish in the top four, is a crushing blow. The outside shot at a team trophy is almost certainly gone now and a top 10 finish is no longer a given, though it is certainly still achievable.
As for the weight class that Coon leaves for a year, defending NCAA, world and Olympic champ Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) already looked like a huge favorite so not too much changes there. What really shifts are the outlooks for Ty Walz (Virginia Tech), Connor Medbery (Wisconsin) and Amar Dhesi (Oregon State). One of those three should be in the finals now and they all have one less major roadblock to deal with come tournament time. The 4/5 match in the quarter-finals in St. Louis also may have just gotten a fair amount easier as now Snyder, Walz, Medbery and Dhesi could slot into the top four seeds. Of course, it is a long season and wrestlers like Michael Kroells (Minnesota), Sam Stoll (Iowa) and Nick Nevills (Penn State) could find their way into the mix while injuries can strike any contender at any time. Still, with Coon out, we have a well defined favorite and clear top four…for now.