In college, he wrestled in the 174 lb. weight class. He lost the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship match to Chris Pendleton in both 2004 and 2005 before winning it in 2006 and 2007. He is known for his pinning ability (he holds the single-season NCAA pin record); his massive afro; and his "funky", or unorthodox, wrestling style. For example, while being ridden in the 2005 championship match, he attempted to reach around and apply a headlock to Pendleton, a move that any wrestling coach would disavow. His tall, lanky body — in sharp contrast to the squat, muscular physiques of many top wrestlers — allows him to attempt moves that most wrestlers could not. This characteristic later led to a challenging transition to freestyle wrestling early in his career, as the freestyle rules differ from folkstyle wrestling and penalize a wrestler for exposing his back. His younger brother Max also wrestled for Missouri and won a national championship in 2010.
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