There were rumblings and now it looks like it’s happening.
Nick Suriano, slated to be a senior for the 2019-20 season, will be taking a redshirt year for the Scarlet Knights.
NCAA Champion Nick Suriano of Rutgers is taking a redshirt this year, as he may train freestyle and drop down to 57kg to challenge a very talented group of wrestlers in the Olympic trials for Tokyo 2020. Nick is a fierce competitor and chases good competition! @RUWrestling pic.twitter.com/rPGBuBdCKW— Pat Mineo (@MrPatMineo) September 9, 2019
Suriano, who won the 2019 National Title at 133 pounds over Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix, was still eligible for a regular redshirt after his transfer from Penn State due to a Big Ten waiver.
You need certain qualifications to qualify for an Olympic redshirt, but Suriano has not been active in freestyle wrestling for USA or International competition. He recently competed at Beat the Streets and defeated Joe Colon. After that result, there were rumblings if Suriano could make a run at a World or Olympic team.
This is interesting considering Rutgers just moved into their new facility and begun preseason practices on Monday. Suriano would drop to 57 KG (about 125 pounds) for Olympic Trials and challenge guys like Fix and Iowa’s Spencer Lee for a potential Olympic team spot.
Another thing to note is, Suriano is not currently enrolled at Rutgers for the Fall 2019 semester according to James Kratch of NJ Advance Media. He would have the option to re-enroll for the Spring 2020 semester and wrestle in a few meets before the Big Ten Tournament at Rutgers University.
Since the NJRTC is housed at Rutgers and Princeton, Suriano can work out there and still utilize Rutgers facilities while he gears up for this run. This could be similar to former Ohio State heavyweight Kyle Snyder, who won Olympic gold in 2016. He initially took an Olympic redshirt for the 2015-16 season, but came back midseason and finished 11-0, capturing the Big Ten and NCAA Title at 285 pounds.
One last little nugget:
AJ Ferrari, a 2020 recruiting target of Rutgers, is making his decision soon. He is the No. 1 pound-for-pound recruit in the country and the Scarlet Knights are on his short list. If Suriano were to redshirt and be eligible for the 2020-21 season, Ferrari certainly wouldn’t mind a National Champion training in the same room.
Ferrari is also the type of wrestler that would be talented enough to start as a true freshman at 197 or 285 pounds, depending upon his growth and college weight decision. How about Suriano going for a second title while Ferrari tries to be an All-American as a true freshman? Fascinating.
Without Suriano, there will be a big hole in the lineup at 133 pounds. Here are some candidates to replace him:
-Zach Firestone (RS Junior)
-Malcolm Robinson (Sophomore)
-Luke Eckloff (Junior)
-Devon Britton (Freshman)
It’s only September folks, buckle up.