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bigmik

How good is Jason Nolf?

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If you're familiar with my past posts, you know that I believe that Martinez made Nolf look better than he actually was last year, and if he wrestled up to his potential, would have beaten Nolf comfortably. I like Nolf, but outside of his pace, I haven't seen anything close to great wrestling from him so far. I wasn't surprised at all to see him barely edge past Massa, and lose to a high school wrestler, Mark Hall, this off season. Nolf may end up being a great wrestler, but as of right now, I think many are overestimating his wrestling prowess because they are suffering from the "David Taylor syndrome". The condition in which one regularly places wrestlers on a higher pedestal than other more accomplished wrestlers due to wide margin of victories over lower tier competition. Of course this condition was widespread on this board when Kyle Dake was outperforming Taylor on the mat, but was still somehow behind him because Taylor looked like a million bucks against low AA finishers. I think we are seeing the same thing today. I saw someone predicted that Nolf would beat Martinez "like a red-headed stepchild" somewhere on the boards. I've heard similar statements from others elsewhere. I'm on the other end of the spectrum because I'm not sure how anyone can clearly say that Nolf is a better wrestler than a guy like Dein Heil. I believe p4p Heil would have beaten Nolf  last year and would have presented just as big of a challenge to Martinez.

 

So...how good is Nolf?

 

Thread roll call: (Please leave me a message guys)

 

MSU158

Vakattack

Willie

HoundedHawk

WildTurkey44

Tbarr1977

FlyingTiger

Wrestlingnerd

HurricaneWrestling

Cletus Tucker

LordNelson

BigTimeFan

Old Marine 

 

Others not on the list, please feel free to contribute to this topic.

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In your words I'd say he's good enough to look like a million bucks against low AA guys. Which actually is impressive regardless of if he won the title or not. There are a lot of guys who finish top 1-4 who can't TF or Major lower AAs.

 

However I do hear your point and "how good is he?" is a question that can't really be fully answered yet. En route to a second place at NCAAs he beat Joe Smith who took 7th and Walsh who had no business being in the semi finals.

 

The way I determine how good someone could be this early into their careers is who the people that they have beat have beaten. This is how Nolf's best wins play out in my book.

 

IMAR - obviously Nolf's marquee win. 2x NCAA champion. Has beaten world bronze medalist on the international level. Only one loss. Has beaten many AA wrestlers through 2 years.

 

Nick Brascetta - two time AA, Nolf's second best win.

 

Joseph Smith - no marquee wins against anyone.

 

Chad Walsh - no marquee wins against anyone. He beat Tommy Gantt who was only ranked high because of an easy schedule. He had a win over Cody pack, another average wrestler with no marquee wins, whom Walsh also beat.

 

So far you can say his grade is an incomplete. He needs to win more of those prove it matches vs the best. He has one vs IMAR but didn't have to beat any top 157s to get into the finals last year. If he's really as good as everyone thinks he is, he should absolutely go undefeated next year.

 

Edit:

One final note, I think his biggest asset (his high pace and technical know-how and even demeanor at all times) is also what holds him back. I didn't see him reach back for that big time move late in a match vs IMAR in NCAAs and it cost him a title.

Edited by bigtenfan

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If you're familiar with my past posts, you know that I believe that Martinez made Nolf look better than he actually was last year, and if he wrestled up to his potential, would have beaten Nolf comfortably. I like Nolf, but outside of his pace, I haven't seen anything close to great wrestling from him so far. I wasn't surprised at all to see him barely edge past Massa, and lose to a high school wrestler, Mark Hall, this off season. Nolf may end up being a great wrestler, but as of right now, I think many are overestimating his wrestling prowess because they are suffering from the "David Taylor syndrome". The condition in which one regularly places wrestlers on a higher pedestal than other more accomplished wrestlers due to wide margin of victories over lower tier competition. Of course this condition was widespread on this board when Kyle Dake was outperforming Taylor on the mat, but was still somehow behind him because Taylor looked like a million bucks against low AA finishers. I think we are seeing the same thing today. I saw someone predicted that Nolf would beat Martinez "like a red-headed stepchild" somewhere on the boards. I've heard similar statements from others elsewhere. I'm on the other end of the spectrum because I'm not sure how anyone can clearly say that Nolf is a better wrestler than a guy like Dein Heil. I believe p4p Heil would have beaten Nolf  last year and would have presented just as big of a challenge to Martinez.

 

So...how good is Nolf?

 

Thread roll call: (Please leave me a message guys)

 

MSU158

Vakattack

Willie

HoundedHawk

WildTurkey44

Tbarr1977

FlyingTiger

Wrestlingnerd

HurricaneWrestling

Cletus Tucker

LordNelson

BigTimeFan

Old Marine 

 

Others not on the list, please feel free to contribute to this topic.

 

 

In your words I'd say he's good enough to look like a million bucks against low AA guys. Which actually is impressive regardless of if he won the title or not. There are a lot of guys who finish top 1-4 who can't TF or Major lower AAs.

 

However I do hear your point and "how good is he?" is a question that can't really be fully answered yet. En route to a second place at NCAAs he beat Joe Smith who took 7th and Walsh who had no business being in the semi finals.

 

The way I determine how good someone could be this early into their careers is who the people that they have beat have beaten. This is how Nolf's best wins play out in my book.

 

IMAR - obviously Nolf's marquee win. 2x NCAA champion. Has beaten world bronze medalist on the international level. Only one loss. Has beaten many AA wrestlers through 2 years.

 

Nick Brascetta - two time AA, Nolf's second best win.

 

Joseph Smith - no marquee wins against anyone.

 

Chad Walsh - no marquee wins against anyone. He beat Tommy Gantt who was only ranked high because of an easy schedule. He had a win over Cody pack, another average wrestler with no marquee wins, whom Walsh also beat.

 

So far you can say his grade is an incomplete. He needs to win more of those prove it matches vs the best. He has one vs IMAR but didn't have to beat any top 157s to get into the finals last year. If he's really as good as everyone thinks he is, he should absolutely go undefeated next year.

 

Edit:

One final note, I think his biggest asset (his high pace and technical know-how and even demeanor at all times) is also what holds him back. I didn't see him reach back for that big time move late in a match vs IMAR in NCAAs and it cost him a title.

 

 

 

bigmik, Nolf is a stud. Had he not beaten I Mar in their first match then I Mar would remain unbeaten and on track to equal Cael Sanderson. So beating I Mar as a freshman is a huge accomplishment. If you want to hold Nolf's freestyle loss to Hall against him, then hold a similar loss that I Mar had to Hall against him too. 

 

bigtenfan, Nolf, aside from two razor thin L's to I Mar, beat every legitimate ranked guy he faced. Brascetta, Walsh, Joe Smith, Brian Murphy, Gannt (the year before), Mitch Minotti, Tyler Berger. The only top guy he did not beat was because he never faced him, Ian Miller. Who knows, maybe Nolf beats him by a significant margin too. No way of knowing. Nolf did bonus most of those other guys 

 

Anyone who really doesn't think Nolf is a stud should state who will beat Nolf this year. I Mar left the weight class. Who will beat Nolf? There isn't any wrestler who could be predicted to beat him this year. 

Edited by TBar1977

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I personally think he is the best PSU wrestler. The guy is an absolute beast but, unfortunately for him, he drew a division with a guy who has a very realistic shot at winning four titles. Outside of facing off against Martinez again I really don't see anyone stopping him and I think he would utterly mangle Retherford. Long story short - the guy is legit, very legit. One of the better young wrestlers I have seen in the past two decades who can beat opponents from multiple positions and by multiple moves. Penn State is fortunate to have such a stud. 

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He's a stud - definite front runner at 157 this season. He could very well go onto being a 3x undefeated champ and I wouldn't be surprised one bit. Logan massa and mark hall are also incredibly talented wrestlers. Too bad they won't be at the same weight class outside of freestyle.

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Assuming he's still at 157 (I still think he'll eventually move up to 165) nobody is going to beat him this season, not even Martinez. I doubt he'll lose another college match and he'll pin or tech nearly everybody in his path. 

 

I was sold on this kid out of 8th grade and he's gotten better every single year. 

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Nolf is very good. There is some merit to the notion that, like DT, he embarrasses all but the best guys, so some may overestimate the level he's at. But it's not like he's losing to the best guys by much either. He is right there. By any objective measure, he is very, very good.

 

If I had one criticism of Nolf, it's that he relies on volume to overwhelm his opponents. The combination of volume, excellent variety (he is ambidextrous with many of his TDs, which makes him unique in D1 today), and a huge set of lungs is too much for 99% of his opponents. But when he faces guys who have either the physical horsepower or the defensive technique to slow him down or block him, he doesn't really have a great answer. If you can weather the storm and control him like Imart did with his underhook or Hall did with his stingy positioning, the constant attacking can turn into a liability that can be exploited.

 

In other words, to me, Nolf is the Manny Pacquiao of D1. Manny overwhelmed most of his opponents with his speed, volume, and superior conditioning. By the middle rounds of a fight, if it went that far, his opponents were so beat down that any game plan went out the window and it became a game of survival for them. But against a guy with elite defensive skills like Mayweather, Manny was lost and vulnerable to precision punching.

 

To consistently beat the absolute best guys, I'd say Nolf needs to pick his shots a little more and set them up a little better.

Edited by wrestlingnerd

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bigmik is trying to define "good" by pure technique only.  In freestyle, his assessment of Nolf would probably be more accurate(although not completely).  However, folkstyle is not dependent upon pure technique.  A smothering, unrelenting style with an enormous gas tank trumps all but the absolute best technique. 

 

Nolf actually reminds me of Metcalf a ton.  They broke nearly everyone, but their styles did leave them open to certain attacks from time to time.  You can't keep coming forward without leaving yourself vulnerable from time to time.  However, your opponent has to be able to weather that storm and still be talented enough to exploit any weaknesses.

 

In Folkstyle, Nolf is definitely top 10 lb for lb in DI and he has only wrestled 1 season.

 

This is how I would rank them going into the 2016-2017 season.

 

1.)Retherford-He may not be the best at any one position(although I think he probably is in the top position) but he is definitely the best when combining all 3 positions.

2.)Martinez-Although Nolf made him look very human, how he adapted showed me his will to win is second to none.

3.)Cox-Like Ruth, he at times seemed disinterested but when on he is as dominant as anyone and his success in Freestyle makes me expect him to just wreck 197 this upcoming season.

4.)Dean-Like Retherford, very solid in all 3 positions, however a couple midseason blunders keep him from being higher.

5.)Snyder-I know many will disagree, but being the best takedown guy by a huge margin at the upper weights, while not having to wrestle on the mat, keeps me from putting him above the other guys.  He is probably the most guaranteed NCAA champ next season but his style keeps me from putting him higher in Folkstyle.  Obviously, he is the best Freestyler(by far) still in College.

6.)Nolf-This guy is really good, but he doesn't have the resume that the 5 above him do.  With Martinez moving up, he most like destroys 157 with the exception of JoJo depending on if he can make that big freshman to sophomore gain that most elite wrestlers do.

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If being "the best" means having the highest chance of winning, then Snyder is #1. I get he's self-admittedly one-dimensional, but when that one dimension is good enough to win world titles and beat arguably a top 5 ever NCAA heavyweight returning champ, the lack of top skills is irrelevant, especially since even Gwiz could not ultimately ride Snyder long enough to beat him.

 

JB was pretty one-dimensional too, and I don't think too many would argue he wasn't the top D1 guy his senior year.

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If being "the best" means having the highest chance of winning, then Snyder is #1. I get he's self-admittedly one-dimensional, but when that one dimension is good enough to win world titles and beat arguably a top 5 ever NCAA heavyweight returning champ, the lack of top skills is irrelevant, especially since even Gwiz could not ultimately ride Snyder long enough to beat him.

 

JB was pretty one-dimensional too, and I don't think too many would argue he wasn't the top D1 guy his senior year.

You are negating the lb for lb aspect I am speaking of.  I think all things equal he loses the Retherford, Martinez and Cox in Folkstyle and Dean and him would be a toss-up.  Snyder's style is great for his body type and exploits big men.  I don't think his neutral wrestling would distance him from the guys I listed as their skillsets match his better.

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There are various ways to define lb for lb. One way is that he is crushing much bigger guys, so lb for lb, is significantly outperforming even relative to his own weight class.

 

Also, he may have zero top game, but the way folkstyle rules are structured, you don't need any top game to be the best. If you can take anyone down, and I'd argue lb for lb nobody touches Snyder in that department, and you can't be ridden (if huge Gwiz can't ride Snyder, what more proof do you need?), then how do you lose?

 

Being the most complete wrestler (Retherford) and being the best lb for lb are two different things.

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Assuming he's still at 157 (I still think he'll eventually move up to 165) nobody is going to beat him this season, not even Martinez. I doubt he'll lose another college match and he'll pin or tech nearly everybody in his path. 

 

Nolf is a killer, but to say that Martinez wouldn't beat him again is based on nothing more than your opinion. 

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I personally think he is the best PSU wrestler. The guy is an absolute beast but, unfortunately for him, he drew a division with a guy who has a very realistic shot at winning four titles. Outside of facing off against Martinez again I really don't see anyone stopping him and I think he would utterly mangle Retherford. Long story short - the guy is legit, very legit. One of the better young wrestlers I have seen in the past two decades who can beat opponents from multiple positions and by multiple moves. Penn State is fortunate to have such a stud. 

 

He's good, but he's no Lance Palmer, am I right?

 

Seriously, you are delusional. Nobody in the country between 141 and 157 would "mangle" Retherford.  Not in college. Not at the senior level.  I would guess is, at this point, Retherford would win 9 times out of 10 at freestyle because he has way more experience than Nolf. A folk style match between the two would be a war.

 

My Nolf prediction is that after his third of three NCAA titles, bigmik starts a thread on themat.com about how he's really not all that good.

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Nolf is a killer, but to say that Martinez wouldn't beat him again is based on nothing more than your opinion. 

 

An opinion based upon observation of recent history. Nobody at 157 is going to beat him this year. 

 

People on this forum gave me a lot of grief last year when I said Nolf would make the finals with Martinez it would be 60/40 in favor of Martinez. I was right then (ended up 66.6 / 33.3) and I'll be right on him this year. The PSU coaching staff will have an answer to that left-side underhook. 

 

It was a similar thing with Retherford when I said he'd beat everybody at 149 and I was widely derided because he was moving up a weight and there was a returning champ and multiple AAs. As it turns out I was correct on him too. 

 

 

I don't think either of them will lose another college match. 

The PSU coaching staff will have an answer to that left-side underhook. 

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Reading this thread you get the impression some people forgot what actually happened in their 3 matches.

 

1. Nolf won by FALL in 4:55

2. Nolf lost in TB-2 at Big Ten

3. Nolf lost by DEC 6-5 at NCAA

 

i think it is just as likely, if not more likely, that Nolf wins an NCAA title this coming year at 157 as opposed to i Mar winning his 3rd after moving to 165.

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IMart is going 165 so the argument is moot. I would favor IMart if they meet again but it would be damn close because Nolf is that good.

 

I did not think Nolf could hold 157 for much longer but apparently he's fine making the weight again, so what do I know. I do wonder if the cut is going to start getting to him at some point, however. 

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I think Nolf benefited from a lot of wrestlers avoiding IMar at 157. 157 was very top-heavy this season. You had IMar, Nolf, and Miller a clear level above everyone else. Then you had Palacio, JoJo, Brascetta, etc. who were good but you knew they had little shot at beating those top 3 guys. After that, the weight was fairly thin. That's not to discredit anyone's accomplishments at this weight but I feel it was thinner than most fields like, say 125 for an example. 

 

Having said all this, Nolf has an incredible combination of technique, cardio, output, strength, and length that is hard for anyone to handle. Massa may give him problems but at this point, I struggle to think of anyone he could lose to in the foreseeable future. I'm not one to make bold predictions but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if we just saw his last collegiate loss in March. In terms of P4P, I think 5-6 is appropriate right now. So yes, he's very, very good. 

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An opinion based upon observation of recent history. Nobody at 157 is going to beat him this year. 

 

People on this forum gave me a lot of grief last year when I said Nolf would make the finals with Martinez it would be 60/40 in favor of Martinez. I was right then (ended up 66.6 / 33.3) and I'll be right on him this year. The PSU coaching staff will have an answer to that left-side underhook. 

 

It was a similar thing with Retherford when I said he'd beat everybody at 149 and I was widely derided because he was moving up a weight and there was a returning champ and multiple AAs. As it turns out I was correct on him too. 

 

 

I don't think either of them will lose another college match. 

The PSU coaching staff will have an answer to that left-side underhook. 

 

 

You are in good company, Zebra.

 

Btw, I think I Mar is going 165 this year. There are a few guys who will give him trouble at that weight. 

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I think Nolf benefited from a lot of wrestlers avoiding IMar at 157. 157 was very top-heavy this season. You had IMar, Nolf, and Miller a clear level above everyone else. Then you had Palacio, JoJo, Brascetta, etc. who were good but you knew they had little shot at beating those top 3 guys. After that, the weight was fairly thin. That's not to discredit anyone's accomplishments at this weight but I feel it was thinner than most fields like, say 125 for an example. 

 

Having said all this, Nolf has an incredible combination of technique, cardio, output, strength, and length that is hard for anyone to handle. Massa may give him problems but at this point, I struggle to think of anyone he could lose to in the foreseeable future. I'm not one to make bold predictions but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if we just saw his last collegiate loss in March. In terms of P4P, I think 5-6 is appropriate right now. So yes, he's very, very good. 

 

 

Where did those guys go? Who dropped to 149 to take on Zain that could have challenged Imar, and who went up to 165 to face Ringer instead of Imar?

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Where did those guys go? Who dropped to 149 to take on Zain that could have challenged Imar, and who went up to 165 to face Ringer instead of Imar?

 

Can't think of any who were 57 in 15 and 49 in 16 but you know there were guys who did not want to jump from 149 to 157 and planned accordingly. Purely speculation but like I said, the weight was top heavy. The only top 157 from 15 who went up (that I can recall anyway) was Realbuto who went up 2. 

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