Sunday’s Big 4 event was one of the more talent-laden and competitive fall events that I’ve been to over the years. The games were tight for the most part, the sidelines were loaded with Division I recruiters and the kids played their tails off in hopes of snagging a Champions League crown.
It was difficult to pick just 10 players who impressed, so here’s part one of the most impressive players from the event. Edit: The second part, highlighting several more standouts, was added late on Sunday night. If you have any notes, corrections, etc. then feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com.
Griffin Westlin, M, Leading Edge / Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) – After watching him for the first time, I really can’t say enough good things about this kid. He creates a lot of quality shots from up top and although he’s somewhat left-handed, Westlin is an athlete who gets shots off quickly and with accuracy. On Sunday, multi-goal performances came easy to him and there’s no doubt he raised his stock with the coaches in attendance.
Ricky Miezan, M, Madlax / Episcopal (Va.) – The hype was considerable on this player and he definitely backed it up, doing an outstanding job getting separation from his man and hiding his stick behind his ear to give the goalie trouble reading the ball. Miezan’s athleticism was on another level compared to the rest of the kids, beating shorties and longstick alike with his repertoire of moves and game-changing acceleration. Have to imagine that he’ll be off the board soon.
Brendan Meagher, M, Big 4 HHH / La Salle (Pa.) – Initially I wasn’t totally impressed with some of the shots and decisions he was making, however Meagher really made some terrific plays as the day went on. He possesses some excellent mitts and a great shot on the run, demonstrating an excitable and hard-nosed style of play. Great feet, GB work and two-way play from the workhorse as well.
Michael Harris, G, Leading Edge / Ridge (N.J.) – In his time in net, Harris was certainly a big reason for the LE defense’s success, stymying opposing shooters with impressive stops in cage. He’s extremely poised for his age and threw some awesome outlets, showing off some athleticism out of the crease on a regular basis. The Red Devils’ program produced Under Armour AA goalie Owen Molloy last year – I can see Harris following in his footsteps to a top 10 school.
Sam Handley, A, 3d Pacific / Jesuit (Ore.) – Despite the fact that I didn’t see this Oregon product as much as I would have liked, I was pretty blown away whenever I watched what he could do with the ball in his stick. It’s easy to see that he understands the game impeccably, making the right play every time and putting up some pretty goals and assists. Dig his quickness, size and the range on his shot as well – he’s for sure one of the better 2018 prospects out of the West Coast.
Grayson Sallade, M, Big 4 HHH / Manheim Township (Pa.) – A massive piece of the puzzle for the Champions League victors, Sallade was lights out, plain and simple. His outside shot is lightyears ahead of the rest of the class, as he breezes down the alley and can rip it on the run with either hand with some serious velocity on it. The Central PA native has to be slid to early and slings it from all release points for his goals, including an awesome game-winner in the first game of the day.
Steven Cornwell, LSM, Madlax / Paul VI (Va.) – As a 1-on-1 defender, though still a definite standout in that sense, he’s still a little bit raw. It’s his overall athleticism and transition skills that do the talking. Cornwell, who just committed to Maryland in recent days, has awesome stickwork and awareness and is constantly given the green light on Cabell Maddux’s squad. He’s a big kid who passes the eye test and wreaks havoc between the lines with heavy checks.
Andrew Bonafede, G, LI Express / Chaminade (N.Y.) – Coming from a rather accomplished lacrosse family, Bonafede is the real deal. First of all, he’s a tremendous communicator in between the pipes, which is a good sign for a recruit so young. In terms of reaction time, it’s as if he knows exactly where the ball is going before the ball is out of the shooter’s crosse, using his quick hands to his advantage and quickly getting the ball upfield after the save. Has to be a top five goalie prospect.
Evan Zinn, M, LI Express North / Staples (Conn.) – There’s a lot of upside on this prospect from the Westport area and that was apparent right off the bat due to his big frame. The more I watched him, the more I came to notice how he complete of a player he is, as he showcased outstanding hands and quick wrists as well as the ability to elude a defense and get off great shots. Intrigued to see where his game can go with a few more years of experience.
Teioshonthathe McComber, A, SweetLax / Kahnawake (Que.) – Kevin Martin’s squad was depleted due to football playoff games and injuries, however McComber was able to break through with a great Sunday campaign. I loved how many tough groundballs he made look insanely easy, quickly picking up the ball and sending it home into the net. Incredibly crafty and gritty, McComber is a name that all college coaches will soon know.
OTHER STANDOUTS AT BIG 4
Nick Bond, M, Leading Edge / Westfield (N.J.) – Part of a powerful first line for the New Jersey program, Bond is a great athlete who runs the field extremely well and is constantly hustling and making plays. I liked how he’s a tough kid who protects stick and on many occasions made it look easy while running through opponents’ entire defense. Brings a lot of intangibles to the table.
Brian Reda, A, LI Express North / Pleasantville (N.Y.) – A lefty with a rapid release on his overhand shot, Reda had a pair of nice second half goals in the afternoon game I watched. He’s heady and knows what to do with the ball, scoring some great bouncers while also dishing out excellent feeds around GLE.
Luke Summers, M, Big 4 HHH / Central Catholic (Pa.) – What program wouldn’t want a smooth and athletic 6’2 lefty? Summers has a cannon of an outside shot, awesome skills in transition and is great at drawing the double and making the right pass. t’s evident that he’s put in numerous hours working on his stick work – it’s as good as any else’s in the entire class. Anxious to see who scoops him up.
Emmett Jones, D, 3d Pacific / Lakeridge (Ore.) – As steady as they come, Jones is a monster who has an awesome lefty stick that often puts the ball on the ground, a quality paired with superb footwork and position play. In addition, he’s great off the ground and on the clear, proving to be an absolute force for the 3d squad. I would bet that some of the nation’s best colleges will try and gobble him up soon.
Kevin Hussey, M, LI Express / Smithtown East (N.Y.) – Good looking prospect here. He’s a smooth operator out of the midfield, leading that unit and boosting it in a big way. Liked how he can easily separate from LSMs down the alley and get his hands free on the run, something he did often on Sunday on a strong LI Express squad. Even at this early point, Hussey’s size is certainly ideal for a top program.
Zachary Johnson, M, Madlax / St. Albans (D.C.) – I remember Johnson from 10 months ago at 3d Blue Chip and as it scary as it is, it appears that he’s upped his game even more. A stud athlete, Johnson is a bull who works hard in the middle of field and along with linemate Austin Stewart (SSSA), another terrific prospect, can sling it on the run and change direction well. If I had to guess, I’d say that Johnson ends up as one of the better kids in the class.
Gavin Tygh, F/O, Big 4 HHH / Penn Charter (Pa.) – Usually I wouldn’t break my rule of writing up eighth graders. Quite frankly, Tygh’s dominant performance at the face-off X on Saturday can’t be ignored. He was automatic pushing the ball forward, looking like the top FOGO at the event and making good decisions with the ball. He was steady and extremely impactful – you have to imagine that recruiters will hold onto this name and give him a hard look when the time eventually comes.
Ryan Nunes, A, 3d Pacific / Mountain Vista (Colo.) – Originally from Maryland but now playing for Jake Herman and Jamie Munro’s high school program in the Denver area, Nunes is a fundamental shooter with a nose for the goal. He simply knew how to put himself in the right spots to be successful and is money either with time and room or dodging to both feed and score. Also showed a nice hustle in the riding game.
Devin Gilligan, D, Big 4 HHH / Shipley School (Pa.) – Gilligan impressed last weekend at Quaker Fest, however he took another step forward in Saturday’s game. The lefty is big, quick-footed and physical, doing a great job playing 1-on-1 defense down low to help lead McKinney’s Big 4 defense that seldom allowed ‘bad’ goals. Definitely a rising defensive recruit out of Philly.
Bryce Kirkwood, A, Leading Edge / Ridge (N.J.) – Although Leading Edge was very midfield-oriented, Kirkwood was one of the more important carriers for them and was very consistent. He gets to the right spots on the field and puts himself in the right spots to be successful. Love how he well he turns the corner and gets off a quick shot. Kirkwood possesses some nice potential to be a rock solid recruit for somebody.
Jack Keating, A, Madlax / Gonzaga (D.C.) – A really nice scorer, Keating carried the load on yet another midfield-based team, putting up some fantastic goals in close and showing off a really nice stick. He’s a slick spot shooter when his hands are free and does a nice job using both hands to make himself even more of a threat to opposing close defensemen.
MORE ’18s WHO DESERVE NAME DROPS
Joe Peterson, M, 3d Pacific / Monte Vista (Calif.)
Matthew Clibanoff, A, Big 4 HHH / La Salle (Pa.)
Michael Clibanoff, A, Big 4 HHH / La Salle (Pa.)
Jordan Donaghy, M, Big 4 HHH / Malvern Prep (Pa.)
Brett Funk, A, Big 4 HHH / Shawnee (N.J.)
Quinn McCahon, M, Big 4 HHH / Malvern Prep (Pa.)
Liam Lacon, D, HEADstrong / La Salle (Pa.)
Cole Metzger, G, HEADstrong / Boyertown (Pa.)
David Hickey, D, Leading Edge / Delbarton (N.J.)
Jake Wornow, M, Leading Edge / Westfield (N.J.)
Brady Keneally, D, LI Express / St. Anthony’s (N.Y.)
Tate Young, M, LI Express / Westlake (Tex.)
Daniel Ochs, D, LI Express / Syosset (N.Y.)
Logan McGovern, A, LI Express North / Darien (Conn.)
Herschel Halesworth, A, LI Express North / Iona Prep (N.Y.)
Matthew Ciafre, G, Madlax / Loudoun Valley (Va.)
Kyle Greenfelder, D, Madlax / Paul VI (Va.)
Tim Rice, G, SweetLax / Canandaigua (N.Y.)
Jacob Walthour, LSM, SweetLax / Salisbury (Conn.)
Christian Watts, M, SweetLax / East Aurora (N.Y.)