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OSU Wrestling: Five Thoughts on Kaid Brock’s Injury and its Impact for 2019

Five thoughts on Kaid Brock’s injury and how it could impact the future for Oklahoma State.

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Last week we reported exclusively for PFB+ subscribers that Kaid Brock had suffered a knee injury and would likely be out for a large portion of this season. Here are some thoughts on how that could impact Oklahoma State this season and possibly into next year.

1. Getting a medical redshirt is the hope, but not the expectation. There’s really no way to be certain of how his situation in requesting a medical redshirt will play out, but recently we’ve seen the NCAA grant a lot of wrestlers a sixth year. Anthony Ashnault from Rutgers, the NCAA champ at 149 pounds last year, got one. Both Shakur Rasheed and Anthony Cassar of Penn State both will be back next year on their sixth year as well. So with Brock, who really knows? The NCAA grants them on a case-by-case basis. Theoretically, though, he and Boo Lewallen both could be back together for one more season.

2. It creates some interesting dynamics with this years lineup. Recently it’s been one big logjam at the lower weights for OSU. To start last season, Kaden Gfeller was the odd man out and Brock was up at 141, with Boo Lewallen at 149. Later, Lewallen got hurt and Gfeller bumped to 149 and became “the guy” there. Now, OSU seems to be in a near-opposite dilemma for this season. On the roster from 125-149 they have Nick Piccininni, Daton Fix, Kaid Brock, Kaden Gfeller and Boo Lewallen. Now Brock may be done for the season due to injury and Fix, while he has not officially made a decision, could take an Olympic redshirt for this year which would open a gap in the lineup at 133. On the current OSU roster this would leave Jacob Fontanez, Andrew Nieman, Bennett Sherrer,  and Conner Wilson as the options available. Most are now projecting true freshman Reece Witcraft to assume the role if Fix decides to take the Olympic redshirt.

3. So who is Reece Witcraft? Witcraft is a blue chip recruit out of Broken Arrow who was a top 25 prospect in last year’s class. He won Fargo, Ironman, and was ranked No. 1 in his weight class by various ranking outlets last season. This kid is as talented as any wrestler in the 2019 recruiting class, and I mean any wrestler, not just the OSU wrestling room. One of his former coaches told me he was the “most gifted wrestler he’s ever coached.” That talent’s raw though. At the high school level, he was a kid that could beat anyone he faced, but would also lose matches that would leave you scratching your head a bit. He’ll be an asset for the Cowboys in the future, but if things click he could jump levels and be a superstar. If it plays out with him as the starter it will be really interesting to see how he handles the starting role as a true freshman.

4. What happens if Brock is able to come back? An interesting thing to consider is the possibility of Brock returning faster-than-expected from injury and subsequently telling the staff he’s ready. What happens then? My assumption on the lineup without him is Daton Fix would move back at 133. But if Fix takes an Olympic RS, which is what most expect, Reece Witcraft, or possibly another underclassmen at 133, would move there, which would put Kaden Gfeller at 141. If Brock wants to go 133 and whoever has filled that spot doesn’t look like they’re going to qualify for the NCAA tournament, then I think it’s an almost easy call to give the senior his shot. But if Witcraft steps up and has a good year and looks like he’ll qualify for the NCAA tournament, then the staff faces a tough decision. If Brock wants to go 141 do you let him wrestle-off with Gfeller? That could create a situation similar to last year with Joe Smith and Chandler Rogers which really didn’t play out well. It’ll be interesting to see what happens if he does get healthy.

5. If Brock gets a redshirt it could create a pretty salty lineup for next season. Here’s me throwing out a perfect storm scenario from what looks like and is a pretty rough situation currently: Kaid Brock gets a medical redshirt and Boo Lewallen gets a medical redshirt for last season; Fix cuts to 125 (I think he can make it); Brock goes 133; Gfeller goes 141; Lewallen 149; Wyatt Sheets 157; and the upper half of the lineup that is going to be young this season gets another year of maturity and hopefully jump levels by the next season.

If that’s the scenario that plays out, OSU fills the gap after Nick Piccinnini and doesn’t force any of the lower weights from the 2020 class into the lineup early. If Fix can’t make 125 then Brock’s return just creates another log jam at the lower weights.

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