Here's an unsettling fact: NC State is returning only one NCAA placer for 2023.
So is the team in trouble? Let's take a look into the lineup. . .
Who's Returning & Leaving?
Who is leaving the Wolfpack in 2023? Tariq Wilson (3x placer), Thomas Bullard (5x qualifier), and Hayden Hidlay (4x placer) are all gone. Dang, that's a big hit.
Most of the lineup is returning, including 2x NCAA placer Trent Hidlay (184); round of 16 lightweights Jakob Camacho (125), Kai Orine (133), and Ryan Jack (141); round of 16 stud Ed Scott; and NCAA qualifying upper weights Isaac Trumble (197) and Tyrie Houghton (285). On top of that, Donald Cates (165) will be back in the lineup.
Top Starting Recruits
The Wolfpack brought in their third straight top-5 recruiting class. That's impressive.
No matter what, a freshman will start at 149. I'm expecting 2X Oklahoma State Champ Luke Ahrberg to make the spot his. With an 18-10 record in 2022, his redshirt season was solid.
While Alex Faison is the veteran junior, I think redshirt freshman Joey Milano may challenge him to start. Last season Faison was 14-3 while Milano went 25-6. Milano would have to drop from 184 lbs, but he is listed at 174 on NC State's roster. He was the #23 recruit in 2021.
Also, fun fact. . . top class of 2022 recruits Matt Singleton and Chase Horne made a random appearance in my "top wrestling state" video.
2023 Lineup Preview
This is how I expect the Wolfpack to look in 2023:
- 125. Jakob Camacho (R16)
- 133. Kai Orine (R16)
- 141. Ryan Jack (R16)
- 149. Luke Ahrberg
- 157. Ed Scott (R12)
- 165. Donald Cates
- 174. Joey Milano / Alex Faison
- 184. Trent Hidlay (5th)
- 197. Isaac Trumble (NQ)
- 285. Tyrie Houghton (NQ)
What to Expect
The Wolfpack lost talent, but so did the rest of the NCAA field. Round of 12 and 16 guys have room to move up and make the podium. 5 of last year's qualifiers wrestled at NCAAs for the very first time, so now they can shake out those nerves.
Based on Flo's rankings, NC State is projected to score around 26 points. However, I believe with guys making improvements and another potential finals run for Trent, they can double that (scoring in the 50 points range).
In the ACC, expect another incredible rivalry dual against Virginia Tech. So is NC State in trouble? Absolutely not.
What do you think?
Josiah Hritsko Wrestling Fan & Founder of Fanco Wrestling
Wrestling Fan & Founder of Fanco Wrestling
P.S. listen to our recent interview with NC State wrestler Kai Orine.