Dayton Pitzer has only wrestled six matches in college, just placed 2nd at Midlands, and is an undeniable title contender.
His results thus far:
- 10-1 over ranked Nathan Taylor
- 7-3 over returning qualifier Houghton
- 10-0 over returning qualifier Wolfgram
- 4-0 over returning finalist Schultz
- Fall over All American Hillger (Hillger was winning 2-1 at time of fall)
- 4-0 loss to All American Davison
That’s outscoring his opponents 32-10 with about an hour of riding time.
Pitt wrestling’s prized heavyweight recruit, who notched 3 PIAA titles at Mt. Pleasant and finished his HS career with 100 pins, is making the case – nay, the case has already been made – that he needs to be in the starting lineup. Here’s why.
No one has a five-year crystal ball. Redshirting him this year on the premise he’ll be even better 4-5 years from now is the traditional way of thinking, but there are so many unforeseeable risks. Injuries, burnout, the NCAA inexplicably cancelling the post-season and not giving the seniors an extra year, etc.
Pitzer is ready now. He just shutout the returning finalist in dominant fashion. He needs to wrestle now.
Maybe he doesn’t win NCAAs this year, maybe he does. Maybe he places 2-8 and is eventually a 4x All American.
If he redshirts, maybe he’s a 4x NCAA champ. Doubtful, but possible. Maybe some super stud (Nick Feldman) emerges, and he never wins. The point is you can’t trade a definite in the present for a probability in the future.
“He’s pretty special. I wouldn’t be surprised if they pull his redshirt. I don’t think they want to – I think they want to get him bigger – but he’s really good. He’s going to be a podium guy if he wrestles this year,” Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro told Eric Knopsnyder after Pitzer’s debut.
For the sake of fairness, let’s discuss a few reasons why he should redshirt.
- 5 > 4. Having him around the program five years for hype and recruiting is obviously a plus
- 4 > 3. Having him and Mac Stout close out the dual lineup four consecutive years would be awesome
- The undeniable benefit of an extra year to train and get stronger
But those are weak arguments. What about the hype of having a true freshman AA at heavyweight, propelling Pitt to a top-10 finish at NCAAs, and an ACC team title? He and Mac will still close out three straight seasons, and that gives Keith Gavin plenty of time to recruit the next big man. Does he need an extra year to train? He’s only 220lbs, but guys 50lbs heavier can’t even get to their base on bottom. I know he’ll be even more dominant next year (assuming no injuries), but he is ready to go.
Iowa pulled Spencer Lee’s redshirt when he was ready to win an NCAA championship. Penn State pulled Mark Hall’s redshirt when he was ready to win an NCAA championship. Pitt should do the same with Dayton Pitzer.