“Happy Valley” is indeed living up to its namesake tonight.
The Nittany Lion wrestling program added Max Dean, Cornell’s 2019 NCAA finalist and two-time All-American at 184, to its roster heading into the 2021-22 season.
Somewhat shockingly, Dean entered the transfer portal last month, in early April, after starting his college career in Ithaca, New York, at Cornell.
Dean is arguably one of the biggest (and most unexpected) names to grace the transfer portal all season.
On Monday, Gabe Dean, the elder of the Dean brothers, confirmed the move to the Big Ten on Chael Sonnen’s “Beyond the Fight” podcast, Monday, May 10.
With the move, there is a bit of a logjam with the Penn State upperweights.
Next season, both 2021 NCAA national champs, Carter Starocci (174) and Aaron Brooks (184), are returning. Additionally, 2021 freshman All-American 197-pounder Michael Bead is coming back as well.
Given that Dean also projects within that 184/197 range, it will be interesting to see who gets that nod at each weight next year. Either way, it looks like a former All-American from 2021 may not be in the starting 10 next winter.
Including a grey shirt and an Olympic redshirt year, Dean is 91-18 on the collegiate level. Overall, he is 57-12, excluding redshirt and grey shirt action.
It appears that the Double-Dean departure from Ithaca was primarily out of fear that the Ivy League may not have a season next year. While there is no evidence to suggest Ivy League programs won’t be returning to action next season, the younger of the Dean brothers likely won’t have to risk missing another NCAA season in 2021-22.
As for Gabe Dean, he is retired from competition and has returned to his native Michigan, where he runs his own business involving mobile storage units. He owns some real estate and investment properties as well.
Penn State took second at Enterprise Center in St. Louis earlier this year despite crowning four of the 10 NCAA champs. Having now added Max Dean to the lineup, the Lions are the likely favorites to dethrone its rival Iowa Hawkeyes in 2022.