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John Smith has High Praise for Erisman, Little Rock Heading into Sunday Dual

Smith discusses the new program’s progress and what it means for Oklahoma State.

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On Sunday, Oklahoma State will be in Little Rock, Arkansas to take on the Little Rock Trojans and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville Cougars in two nonconference duals.

In the media availability this week, OSU coach John Smith spoke on the dual and coaching against Neil Erisman, one of his former athletes who has been tasked with building the upstart Little Rock wrestling program.

“He’s done a nice job, and it’s good for us,” Smith said. “It’s an opportunity for us. We were supposed to have a conference team come in this week, and it fell through about a month ago. Unfortunately we were sitting there without competition this week. Good thing we have Little Rock. We needed it.”

Smith also talked the transfers that Erisman has got into his program and the impact that they could play.

“He’s picked up a few transfers that gives him an upper class,” Smith said. “I think he understands he doesn’t want to start with a freshman class and take it all the way through. He needs seniors, juniors and sophomores. I think he’s done a pretty good job of putting it together. There’s been a real commitment to getting that program started, a real commitment. It’s pretty impressive how quickly they’ve become pretty competitive.”

His last comments on Erisman and Little Rock revolved around his part in helping them build their program, specifically on the transfers Little Rock has received from Oklahoma State.

Redshirt freshman Triston Wills transferred to Little Rock from OSU, and he starts for the Trojans at 174 pounds. He picked up Little Rock’s lone win in its dual against Arizona State and picked up another win in a dual against Oregon State in Stillwater last weekend.

Bear Hughes also transferred from OSU to Little Rock this offseason, though he is no longer listed on the Trojans’ roster.

“He’ll get more,” Smith said. “We definitely want to help him any way we can. Not that we want to lose anybody, but it’s darn sure nice having another Division-I team this close, and we’ll definitely put some energy in to try and help him build that program.”

Overall, Smith seems to think pretty highly of the Little Rock program and what Erisman is doing to build it.

The first dual starts at 12:55 p.m. Sunday and can be streamed live on Little Rock All-Access.

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