Though an inevitable side effect of early recruiting, the concept of poaching is nothing new to lacrosse, increasing significantly last fall and not only becoming commonplace but something that several coaches are completely open about.
Despite their recent successes, North Carolina has been in the middle of it along with the rest of the ACC, both suffering and benefitting from the trend of reeling in other schools’ commits.
On July 31st, Greenwich (Conn.) senior midfielder Will Perry reneged on his longtime verbal commitment to Providence in favor of the Tar Heels. His spot was created by two recent switches by former UNC commits to Virginia and Princeton. Days later, touted Manhasset (N.Y.) lefty finisher Matt Gavin joined in after backing off from his commitment to archrival Duke earlier in the summer.
Perry’s flip in particular represents another inevitability of powerhouses flipping late-bloomers originally set to play at less prestigious programs.
After the aforementioned spots opened up, his high school coach Scott Bulkley – a former Tar Heel captain and three-time ACC champion – reached out to Joe Breschi after gauging Perry’s interest. He then visited during the last weekend in June and left “blown away” by what the school had to offer, committing a month later once the summer circuit wrapped up.
“A lot jumped out – how terrific they are at lacrosse and what the school had to offer,” Perry said. “When I went down there, the campus was unbelievable, the weather’s always awesome in Chapel Hill and the coaches were such nice guys. It was all something I’ve always wanted to be a part of.”
Raising his stock considerably last summer, Perry has a midfield dodging skill set that is tailor-made for the ACC. Over the past two seasons in one of the nation’s most daunting public school conferences, he’s pumped in a whopping 97 goals and 26 assists while helping the Cardinals to a 36-8 record in that time.
“Every Division I powerhouse has a kid who can shoot like him, so he’s a perfect ACC midfielder with his shot on the run,” says his club coach Nick Daniello, the founder of Prime Time Lacrosse based in Cross River, NY. “He’s a run and gun type of player, an extremely hard working kid and pure competitor who always wants the ball in his stick in big moments.”
Perry’s athleticism, ability to get up and down the field and can shots from 10-15 yards will likely put him on the field early on in Chapel Hill.
25 Rising Seniors Change Their Minds
Yet another change of heart last week caused me to go through the 2016 commit list and count the amount of seniors that are now committed for the second time.
Counted 25 members of the ’16 class that have changed commitments, which is the highest it’s ever been by far. Still time for more movement.
— Ty Xanders (@tyxanders) August 14, 2015
Keep in mind that the following 25 all have different situations and weren’t just bonafide poach jobs. Many were unhappy with their original choices and then made changes while some made new choices after grades were too low to stay committed or high enough to switch to schools that are better academically.
Air Force to BU – Anthony DeMaio, A, Coronado (Calif.)
UMass Lowell to Bryant – Jake Fiske, LSM, Poway (Calif.)
Yale to Colgate – Brendon Luu, F/O, Chaminade (N.Y.)
Amherst to Cornell – Brandon Salvatore, LSM/D, Taft (Conn.) PG
BU to Delaware – Luke Bianchino, M, Salesianum (Del.)
High Point to Drexel – Cheech McLallen, A, Madison (Va.)
Syracuse to Georgetown – Cullen Morgan, M, Fox Lane (N.Y.)
High Point to Gettysburg – Chris Crowley, G, Delbarton (N.J.)
Air Force to Harvard – Jeremy Magno, M, Bergen Catholic (N.J.)
Cornell to Harvard – Beau Botkiss, LSM/D, Torrey Pines (Calif.)
Duke to Harvard – George Loring, M, Noble & Greenough (Mass.)
Furman to Holy Cross – John Faus, LSM/D, St. Paul’s (Md.)
Dartmouth to Lafayette – Christopher Adamo, LSM, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.)
Delaware to Lehigh – Jake Burmeister, D, MICDS (Mo.)
Rutgers to Navy – Jeff Durden, LSM/D, McCallie (Tenn.)
Duke to UNC – Matt Gavin, A, Manhasset (N.Y.)
UNC to Notre Dame – Brian Willetts, A, Choate (Conn.) PG
Delaware to Ohio State – Tre LeClaire, A, Elgin Park (B.C.)
UNC to Princeton – Phillip Robertson, A, St. Anne’s Belfield (Va.)
Stevens Tech to Quinnipiac – Jake Southren, A/M, Randolph (N.J.)
Ohio State to Richmond – Matt Davies, A/M, Taft (Conn.)
Richmond to St. Joe’s – Garrison Kedda, M/FO, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.)
Binghamton to Towson – Shane Brennan, G, Whitman (N.Y.)
UNC to Virginia – Mitch Gordon, A/M, St. Paul’s (Md.)
Syracuse to Yale – Matt Gaudet, A/M, Salisbury (Conn.)
Whitenack Becomes Cleveland State’s First Recruit
Since being hired as the program’s first head coach in late June, Dylan Sheridan has been on a tear when it comes to recruiting. Returning to his home state to steer the Vikings’ ship, the former Princeton and Denver defensive coordinator has picked up 10 commitments from 2016’s in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio and Washington.
The first, however, may have been the biggest: Zach Whitenack, who was named Ohio’s LSM of the Year out of Olentangy HS not too far from Columbus. This past spring, he corralled over 100 GB’s while pitching in 10 points to pick up 1st Team All-State honors.
After his performance representing the Midwest last month at the Under Armour Underclass Tournament, Whitenack put himself on just about everybody’s radar with his stellar play. Matt Lee, his club coach with Resolute Lacrosse, speaks highly about what the 5’11, 180-pound senior brings to the table.
“First and foremost, Zach is an outstanding student in the classroom carrying a 3.8 GPA. He is a tremendous defender on-ball, can control the middle of the field between the lines scooping up GBs or causing turnovers and is always an offensive threat as a pole,” said Lee, a former player at Ohio State. “Coach Sheridan definitely created a gigantic splash landing Zach Whitenack as a solid defenseman to build around for a new program.”
With the sport’s growth in the Midwest, adding another local option for players aspiring to play Division I lacrosse, especially players that want to go to school within a big city environment.
Here’s a quick Q&A with Whitenack:
You had several legitimate options between D1, D2 and D3 – what was most attractive about going to Cleveland State?
Cleveland State has a lot to offer. I really like the atmosphere of the campus – they’ve made a lot of additions and updates and it is a very cool setting downtown Cleveland. I’m also looking forward to the engineering program and the updates that they have planned in the next couple of years. In terms of lacrosse, I really like Coach Sheridan and his vision for the program. I think the team will get a lot of support at CSU.
Why did you feel that going to a brand new program was the best fit? What did Coach Sheridan pitch while recruiting you?
The opportunity to play for a new program was intriguing to me. Being a part of the first ever recruiting class at Cleveland State is exciting and I like how the entire team is going to be experiencing D1 lacrosse at CSU for the first time, so we get to grow and build that program together. I think that will be great for team chemistry. Coach Sheridan has a great reputation and the experience of starting something new with him in the state of Ohio is a great opportunity. I believe he is going to build an elite program.
Being an Ohio native, what does it mean to you to be attending Cleveland State and also as the Vikings’ first commit?
I think it is going to be an amazing experience attending and playing for Cleveland State. Being the first commit is special, because it’s unique. I’m sure it was just luck of the draw because Coach Sheridan has quickly picked up great players from Ohio and many other states. I’m really excited about this team and our potential to start another great program in Ohio.
Submit Video & Commits
Going forward, all highlight reels and confirmed Division I commitments will be posted here on Recruiting Rundown. Take a look below on how to make that happen.
The easiest way to do things is to fill out the attached Submit Commit form with the information it asks for, though you can also e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before you submit any new video, check out my piece from late July on what to do and what not to do when putting together a highlight reel. Note that in order to be posted, video must have been updated since last fall and come from either YouTube or Vimeo. There’s a new section for entirely committed players, so view & submit here.
I’ve had a lot of feedback from college coaches over the past few weeks that the Video Vault has been a place that they’ve come to find new prospects. Submit yours at the bottom of each post below – all video will be updated by Friday, August 28th.