According to FRL 214, Flo Wrestling's podcast, the possibility for 125-pound rising sophomore Nick Suriano to transfer to Rutgers is out there. Message boards have been swirling with rumors of a Suriano transfer during this normally dead period, but there appears to be real legitimacy to the rumors at the moment.
According to Christian Pyles on FRL 214, the following things have happened this summer:
- Suriano has not been taking classes at Penn State.
- Suriano has participated in camps at the Scarlet Knight Wrestling Club back at his home state in New Jersey.
- Cael Sanderson has been traveling to New Jersey to recruit Suriano all over again to return to Penn State.
The signs are alarming for Penn State that Suriano may be looking to head back home. If Cael has been traveling to New Jersey to recruit Suriano back to PSU, that is a pretty good indicator of where things stand.
Big Ten rules would require that if Suriano transfers intra-conference to Rutgers, he would have to sit out one year of eligibility. This would leave Suriano with only two more years of NCAA wrestling. However, an exception that could apply would be if Suriano received a full release from Penn State. In that event, Suriano would not lose a year of his collegiate career and if Rutgers and Penn State agreed, then Suriano could possibly compete next year for Rutgers.
What impact this could have on the team title race is unknown at this point. Penn State does not have an apparent replacement for Suriano at 125, and Suriano is among the favorites to win the national title next year at that weight. Even with five returning national champions, losing a wrestler of Suriano's caliber would be a significant hit. Ohio State has put together an impressive roster that is capable of challenging the Nittany Lions for the national championship.
Penn State has no incoming 125 pound recruits for this upcoming season. There does not appear to be an obvious solution in the 2018 class for Cael either, unless he can come from behind on some recruiting battles for wrestlers he has not yet recruited.
For 2019, Penn State is pursuing current No. 1 at 106 pounds, Kurt McHenry, but McHenry is still two years away from college, and it is difficult to imagine that Cael would neglect filling a hole at 125 for two seasons.
This article has been edited to include that Rutgers and Penn State have to agree to allow Suriano to compete next year.