Ive been reading posts on this site for years, and finally decided to join the fun!
I really enjoyed following Dake's career, but don't even see him as being "obviously better" than Pat Smith let alone CAel. I'd also add that Mcilravy lost once in the finals, but like Pat Smith didn't "need" a redshirt to accomplish what they did. Mac won 2 titles and had a runner up before taking a redshirt. Smith only took one with Ok St. being inelegible. Mac went in right out of college and started winning us opens and world medals. I just don't see Dake at that level.
How many "close matches" did Dake have even in the last 2 years? I'd say alot compared to any of the greats listed in this conversation. No one was slow down Mac to a 3-0 decison in the first round. If this were a one time deal, I'd throw the result out as being"odd". However, he wasn't even in the same realm of DOMINANCE as Cael, as he had alo of close matches.
We forget alot o the old-timers like Uteke, who never lost in college and won the olympics while in college. I don't see any of Dakes results that would suggest hes capable of this.
I'm laughing as guys say on her Cormier and Eggum aren't as good as Molinaro and St. John. Most that have followed wresting would say thats simply not true.
Winning a title for anyone i as a freshman is also a product of timing. For example, if a very good freshman were at 165 this year, it would have been neary impossible. SAme at 184 with Ruth there, or say Stephan Abas his senior year, or in john Smith weight when he was a senior (you get my point). My point is that is you have a monster upper classman in the weight, its almost impossible to win FOR AnY FRESHMAN. If you look at all the 4 timers, none had "monsters" in their weights as freshman.
Lastly, I believe in two years, Stieber will close out a more dominant 4-time champ career than Dake. The whole not-redshirting things is the only thing that complicates this. Personally I have PAt Smith ahead of Dake on the list of 4-timers, based on dominence. I also believe Mcilravy would have beat Dake 8 or 9 times out of 10. Dominance IS AN INDICATOR of how good a guy is.
Ok-defending Dake, the guy is a gamer and one of the all-time greats for sure. I don't thin anyone in history beats him badly. I hope he commits to freestyle, as 163 could end up being as deep as back in the days of Schultz and Monday!