One of the biggest challenges for Penn State wrestling this offseason was replacing Roman Bravo-Young at 133 pounds. Bravo-Young won two national championships at PSU and was a three-time NCAA finalist. As usual, coach Cael Sanderson worked his magic over the offseason. He landed one of America’s most promising wrestlers in Aaron Nagao.
Penn State wrestling fans got familiar with Nagao last season when he wrestled at Minnesota. Nagao wrestled RBY twice. The first time was in the Big Ten finals, the second in the NCAA quarterfinals. He didn’t win either match, but Nagao fared better than most against RBY. He fell by scores of 5-2 and 4-1, respectively. For anybody to finish a Big Ten runner-up and fifth place nationally isn’t too shabby, let alone a redshirt freshman. So Penn State and its fans were ecstatic in April when Nagao announced his decision to commit out of the transfer portal.
But Wednesday night, a report surfaced that Nagao had suffered a serious injury that could cause him to miss a significant portion of Penn State’s season.
Although Nagao did indeed suffer an injury, a source close to Nagao told Nittany Sports Now that it happened five weeks ago and indicated that Nagao isn’t expected to miss significant time in Penn State’s season, if any time at all.
The source said he thinks Nagao competing at the Journeyman Collegiate Classic on Nov. 12 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is “very likely,” but will ultimately be up to Sanderson, Penn State’s coaching staff and doctors to decide when they want to put him in the lineup.
The source said Nagao would say he’d be ready to go “Day 1” if asked.
Nagao has been cleared for drilling and lifting and has been in PSU’s wrestling room for the past few days. With the first more than a month away and Penn State’s first dual meet not until Dec. 3, there’s plenty of time for Nagao to get ready. It’s also worth noting that Nagao missed several weeks of action toward the end of Minnesota’s regular season last winter due to injury, so that will be something Nagao will look to avoid repeating.