A new weekly feature, The Rundown will cover a variety of random topics throughout the spring . It will contain links, intriguing story lines, video and tidbits from conversations with notable names in the lacrosse world. Got an intriguing piece of news or a story pitch? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve always strongly disliked this time of year. The few weeks between the end of football season and the commencement of high school lacrosse season are long, cold and generally brutal.
However, it’s a time to look back at the best teams from the spring 2014 and figure out where those programs stack up in the preseason top 25 national rankings, which will likely be released in 2-3 weeks and updated every Wednesday until June.
Anyway – it’s National Signing Day, a national holiday for diehard college football fans who call in sick to obsessively watch hours of analysis. I’ve been taking this day off to post up on the couch and watch ESPNU’s coverage since I was in high school. I still haven’t forgiven one of my best friends for telling our English teacher senior year that I was not at school because of NSD, which he understood until he spotted me in the stands at the varsity basketball game.
Over the last few years, it’s been interesting to compare and contrast football and lacrosse recruiting, so I’ll throw out a few articles and tweets that are particularly intriguing.
The decommitment craze
By far the most players I’ve ever seen commit in one day that had been committed to another school(s) — this is ridiculous
— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) February 3, 2015
January is a huge time in football recruiting for official visits where seniors have up to five campus visits paid for by the school, so in other words it’s a trend that barely exists in our sport. It’s also a massive time for decommitments and switches. It seemed that throughout the last few weeks, I’ve read about at least a dozen per day, however there were far more than that a day before Signing Day. Of course, it’s much more straightforward in football where it’s full scholarships rather than 12.6 in lacrosse, where some coaches can literally ‘outbid’ their rivals to get top talent. Still, the fact that verbals in our sport are happening at an increasingly early rate (that’s been well documented, obviously) means that decommitments are going to ramp up significantly in the coming years. It’s already happening at a high rate, a subject for a RR article in itself in the coming weeks that’s in the works.
Update on Video Vault and Commitment Lists
This was something I admitted to in the holiday check-in towards the end of December, but the Video Vault has become a project that I’ve been slacking on lately. At this time, I’ve temporarily taken down all video on that portion of the site and will be updating it throughout the next few weeks.
I’ve also updated the commitment lists today, adding verbals to schools like Georgetown, Cornell, Michigan, Air Force, Villanova, Albany and Penn State in the ’16 and ’17 classes. The submission pages for all classes is available here:
Penn snags two underrated scorers in the ’16 class
Who said that standout juniors can’t find homes at Top 20 schools this late? This tweet from the fields back in November freaked some people out, despite the fact that the college coaches’ attendance at 2016 games would give off the impression that most high profile schools were totally done. Being wrong is part of the journalism business, I suppose.
On a roll lately, Mike Murphy and the Quakers were able to secure admissions process commitments from recruits from the West Coast Starz and Leading Edge in the past week.
— Ty Xanders (@tyxanders) January 30, 2015
Biddle is a player who, along with Utah native Bubba Fairman (now committed to Navy), impressed a ton of college recruiters in the summer and had people wondering why he was still on the market. Largely under recruited, he received bites from other Ivies towards the beginning and was also pursued hard by Drexel, Hofstra, Furman, Tufts, Amherst and Bowdoin. Great showings at Adrenaline High Rollers ultimately solidified his status with the renowned Ivy League program in Philly.
Here’s what coach Jono Zissi, his coach for San Diego-based RC Elite and the West Coast Starz had to say about him:
“Jojo has improved more than anyone in our RC program in the last two months and that has been a true testament to his work ethic. Being left-handed, having the ability to play attack and midfield and using his speed and change of direction will create huge matchup problems for opponents, allowing him to compete for time upon his arrival at Penn. He’s a cerebral player with a knack for the goal and an often under-appreciated ability to feed and get tough ground balls.”
Drew Robshaw, a fellow lefty, hails from Mendham (N.J.) in Morris County and has already proven himself as a skilled scorer. Also strongly considering Dartmouth and Amherst in the process, Robshaw had a strong fall at the Quaker Lax Fest, Philly Showcase and the B’More Fall Invitational. His coach, Chris Roy, had this to say about him:
“Drew is a big, strong attackman who has a hammer of a shot. His hands are deft enoguh to score inside and he can also stretch a defense with his range. He is a versatile athlete who we think can play in front of the goal too. Drew’s a very good person who comes from a great family. We are very excited that he has been given the opportunity to commit to the admissions process at UPenn & that he will able to live out his dream of playing for Coach Murphy.”
How social media has changed recruiting
ESPN’s Ryan McGee posted a fascinating article on the attention that recruits get on social media and how it has revolutionized football recruiting. Great quote from Georgia head coach Mark Richt (which might reign true in lax as well): “Social media is probably the single thing that’s changed everything we do more than anything else that’s come along since I’ve been coaching 30 years now.”
As the piece begins to articulate, fans flock towards top recruits’ Twitter accounts to follow their thought process and tweet at them to try to influence them to pick their favorite school. The recruits, meanwhile, make things rather easy for members of the media, often tweeting whenever they receive offers, make visits or narrow down their top choices. Coaches like Penn State’s James Franklin (#WeAre…Better) and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin (#YESSIR) have celebratory remarks on Twitter when important recruits decide. The app has made it easy for everybody to follow recruiting from a fan’s perspective and simple for the writers to collect and distribute valuable information.
A lot of people speak about how social media has changed lacrosse recruiting and added pressure to the kids making decisions. It has… and I certainly haven’t helped that. Kids see their peers’ commitments as freshmen and sophomores on various Twitter accounts and feel pressure to make their own decision, perhaps sooner than necessary.