Last year was magical for Mekhi Lewis (r-SO, Bound Brook NJ) as he became Virginia Tech Wrestling's first National Champion and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler. The 165lber went 28-2 (5-0 ACC), with his only losses coming in the month of November. The first was against Connor Flynn (Missouri) after a questionable hands to the face call. The other was a 2-0 loss to Isaiah White (Nebraska). Lewis would go on to be the ACC tournament champion for 165lbs and was named the ACC Wrestler of the Year. This year he will be taking an Olympic redshirt, as he trains for the upcoming Olympic trials.
With Lewis' redshirt, David McFadden (r-SR, West Milford NJ) can return to his natural weight. He last wrestled at 165lbs in 2017/2018 and became the ACC Champion. The 165lb weight class is the most senior class this year and arguably the deepest, but McFadden has wrestled against the consensus top-3 before. He defeated Wick (Wisconsin) and Marinelli (Iowa), but lost to then national champion, Joseph (Penn St) 1-3 in 2017/2018.
McFadden's bread and butter offense is a single leg with a "dump" finish. It's simple and it's beautiful. He has incredible hip control; you can see this when he completes his shot and his ability to keep hips higher in scramble situations. On top, in referee's position, McFadden is very strong at riding. His uses a cross body ride or tight waist to prevent any escape. He then keeps opponents down by using a leg trap or turk. From there, he has a plethora of moves: tilts, half nelsons, arm bars.
David has very few weakness. Sometimes he can get sloppy at the end of the match and last year this was evident due to wrestling a heavier weight. His point production dropped significantly in the third period and it was clearly visible how gassed he was at the end of each match.
David McFadden's schedule is easy, with only having to wrestle three preseason, top 25 wrestlers this year. My prediction is he will win the 165lb NCAA championship, allowing Virginia Tech to repeat in the weight class. With Vincenzo Joseph's loss last year, I think it dispels the mysticism of his then unblemished record in the NCAA tournament. I also believe McFadden has gained confidence by watching Lewis' victory and having wrestled decently at a heavier weight last year.