Introducing Recruiting Rundown’s Five-Star Prospects In The Class of 2017

After two years of extensive evaluations, I’m pleased to announce the inaugural group of Recruiting Rundown five-star prospects in the class of 2017. These 23 players have stood out from the rest of the pack as North America’s most talented and proven recruits, names that we’ll all want to track as they get closer to playing at the Division I level.

Since the starring process is a new one for lacrosse, I’ll explain further… As many of you know, I’ve always drawn inspiration from the way that football recruiting is covered on websites like Rivals, ESPN, 24/7 and Scout. It’s fascinating to me how much work and attention to detail goes into that process, and that’s something that I feel lacrosse finally deserves.


Without further ado, here are the 2017 five-stars. Check back on Tuesday for Top 100 rankings:

James Avanzato, A/M, Sachem North (N.Y.)
Club affiliations: Tenacious Turtles
Commitment: Maryland
A fearless dodger able to create offense from any spot on the field, Avanzato exploded for 86 points to earn All-County honors against excellent competition. The future Terp uses a quick first step, tremendous lacrosse IQ and strong step-down shooting, attributes that were on display during Under Armour weekend as he finished as one of the event’s top overall point-getters.

Cam Badour, M, IMG Academy (Fla.) highlights
Club affiliations:
Ottawa Capitals, SweetLax
Commitment:
Duke
Drawing comparisons to fellow countryman Kevin Crowley, the super-talented lefty has the rare combination of size, athleticism and Canadian stick skills. After spending the summer playing box with Gloucester and St. Catharines, Badour will be taking his talents down to IMG Academy. He’s the first commit for the Devils from north of the border since the days of Zack Greer.

Alex Buckanavage, A, Brunswick (Conn.)
Club affiliations: 3d New England
Commitment: Michigan
Sneaky and opportunistic off-ball, Buckanavage broke out during his sophomore season by notching 31 goals and 25 assists for the Bruins. Despite being just 5’9 or so, the lefty scorer has to be accounted at all times around the crease, as he’s great at finding seams in the defense and finishing with soft hands. Buckanavage has also shown that he’s relentless in the riding game and is part of a terrific class for Michigan.

Nate Buller, A, Landon (Md.)
Club affiliations:
VLC
Commitment: Duke
After setting Landon’s freshman scoring record a year ago, the smooth lefty put up 39 goals and 19 assists for the IAC champion Bears this past spring. Explosive, crafty and clutch, Buller consistently finished difficult plays and performed beyond his years on what was likely the nation’s most dangerous attack unit.

Ben Cirella, LSM, Manhasset (N.Y.)
Club affiliations: Tenacious Turtles
Commitment: Michigan
A manchild with a mean streak, Cirella’s the type of player who empties his tank every game, giving a full effort on wings, between the lines on defense and in transition. Not many LSM’s at this age are able to effectively shut down a midfielder of any type (fast, big, small), however Cirella already fits that mold. He’s incredibly disruptive and simply works his tail off.

Zion DeChesere, G, Coronado (Nev.)
Club affiliations: West Coast Starz, Zip It
Commitment: Michigan
As athletic and active as they come, the Las Vegas native may have cemented his status as the No. 1 goalie in the country this summer, standing on his head for the Starz with insane reflexes and shot-stopping ability. On top of that, he’s a noticeably charismatic kid who loves the spotlight and to be challenged, evidenced by his 105 mph shot at Nike’s ‘The Ride’.

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Connor DeSimone, M, Smithtown East (N.Y.)highlights
Club affiliations:
Tenacious Turtles
Commitment:
Johns Hopkins
Possessing the coveted ability to make players around him better, DeSimone raised his play in year two while establishing himself as a lights out feeder from up top. This summer, he showed that his lacrosse IQ and two-handedness are both second to none, thriving at Under Armour, The Ride, US U-19 tryouts and in events with his club.  Helping the Bulls to a second consecutive county title, he racked up 29 goals, 25 assists and a whopping 65 groundballs this spring.

Mikey Drake, A/M, Salesianum (Del.)highlights
Club affiliations: Big 4, Duke’s LC
Commitment: Notre Dame
Named an All-American after putting up 50 goals and 35 helpers, Drake has shown a knack for separating better than anybody in the class. He’s got nasty change of direction, an even better split dodge and an outside shot that he’s clearly worked hard on. Dabbles at both positions but is more likely to play midfield once he arrives in South Bend.

Adrian Enchill, LSM, Westminster (Conn.) highlights
Club affiliations: Prime Time Penguins
Commitment: Notre Dame
What separates Enchill from the pack is his motor – he’s relentless in his pursuit of the ball, outstanding off the wings and generally an annoyance to ball carriers. Enchill’s insanely athletic, smoothly getting the rock off the ground and then becoming a threat in the open field. Several opposing NE West coaches called him the best defensive player they faced all year.

Chris Fake, D, Hun School (N.J.) highlights
Club affiliations: Tri-State
Commitment: Virginia
Incredibly important to his team’s success, Fake helped MV Whitlow’s upstart Hun squad to a 19-1 record and No. 6 finish in the national polls. A phenomenal position defenseman, the 6’1, 200-pound recruit sits down low in his stance and effectively blankets the opponent’s top option without much flash. He’s armed with quick footwork, a stick that’s handy in the clearing game and impressive smarts.

Andrew Fowler, LSM/D, Landon (Md.) highlights
Club affiliations:
VLC
Commitment:
Cornell
Fowler put together a sophomore season that saw him rake in the accolades, locking down opposing scorers with impeccable footwork and a great lefty stick. Built low to the ground at 5’8 and 170 pounds, he’s tough as nails and can thrive both up top at close defense. Elected as junior captain for the Bears next year and also plays both ways in football.

Matt Licciardi, M, Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.)
Club affiliations: Tenacious Turtles
Commitment: Cornell
The heart and soul of every team he’s been on, Licciardi plays with a sizable chip on his shoulder due to his 5-foot-6 height. While helping the Seahawks to a state title, he battled on face-offs (collecting 102 GB’s) and chipped in 36 points on offense, doing whatever was asked of him and more. Intelligent player who grinds and competes at an extremely high level.

Matt Moore, M, Garnet Valley (Pa.) highlights
Club affiliations
: Duke’s LC, Big 4
Commitment
: Virginia
The headliner of an absolutely loaded class for UVA, Moore will find himself in the No. 1 spot for the second summer in a row. As a sophomore, Moore acted as the Jaguars’ go-to scoring option with 44 goals and 33 assists, named an All-American and the Central League’s MVP. Athletically, he’s a cut above, gliding past longpoles with his 6’2, 185-pound frame while showing off a phenomenal split dodge and superb range. Though he may not become a 4-time college All-American like his high school coach Frank Urso, there’s no doubt that he has the same sort of potential.

ESD's Nakeie Montgomery.

Nakeie Montgomery, M, Episcopal Dallas (Tex.) highlights
Club affiliations:
Dallas Select, C2C
Commitment:
Duke
Among the most impressive and explosive athletes in the class, Montgomery made a statement to the rest of the country by picking up All-Tournament honors during Under Armour weekend. In the spring, he registered 57 goals and 25 assists despite heavy attention. Once he gets to Durham in two summers, the Blue Devils will have a Myles Jones type of playmaker on their hands.

Connor Morin, A, Morristown Beard (N.J.) highlights
Club affiliations: Leading Edge
Commitment: Villanova
Taking a significant step forward from the fall, Morin was undoubtedly one of the most dominant attackmen on the summer circuit. He stands out instantly with his 6’3, 200-pound frame and is a dynamic playmaker with either hand, finishing efficiently anywhere within eight yards of the crease. Accumulated 66 points on varsity and is a bonafide steal for Mike Corrado’s Wildcats.

Colin Munro, A, Mountain Vista (Colo.) highlights
Club affiliations: 3d Colorado
Commitment: North Carolina
An essential part of a Golden Eagles squad that reached Colorado’s final four, Munro is a lethal lefty known for doing most of his damage off-ball and in tight spaces. One of the poster boys for the 3d Lacrosse methodology, he spent the summer in the box rinks of British Columbia, routinely putting together huge outings for the Coquitlam Adanacs.

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Ryan O’Connell, M, New Canaan (Conn.) highlights
Club affiliations
: Eclipse
Commitment
: North Carolina
Among Connecticut’s most dominant players as just a sophomore, O’Connell took his game to another level while scoring 37 goals and 17 assists to pace the Rams. Creative and confident, the tough lefty is a nuisance when dodging the alleys and is able to make plays all over the field, including at the face-off dot. Pledged to UNC in July after de-committing from Michigan during the spring.

Aidan Olmstead, A, Corning (N.Y.) highlights
Club affiliations: SweetLax
Commitment: Loyola
Blessed with off-the-charts vision and field sense, Olmstead (31g, 35a in 2015) is a gem of a X attackman, picking apart defenses by letting the game come to him. The lefty is quick off the dodge, amazing on the ride and has even added a new wrinkle to his game by becoming more of an outside shooter. Perhaps most impressive is that he continues to get better and better.

Hall Peters, D, St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.) – highlights
Club affiliations: 3d NorCal
Commitment: Virginia
Peters upped his stock in a major way this spring, leading the Wildcats during a successful East Coast swing that saw them knock off Landon and narrowly fall to Gonzaga. Though not huge by any means, the Wahoo recruit is an intimidating and aggressive presence, terrorizing the hands of dodging attackmen and playing lights out defense around GLE.

Lucas Quinn makes a move during the Niskayuna boys' lacrosse team's state championship game June 6, 2015, in Vestal. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

Lucas Quinn, M, Niskayuna (N.Y.)
Club affiliations
: SweetLax, Albany Power
Commitment: Syracuse
As a sophomore, Quinn pumped in 43 goals and 34 assists to push the Silver Warriors to the program’s first ever New York state title. An electrifying dodger who is a marked man despite being just 5’8 and 180 pounds, he has an absurdly quick release and accurate shot with his feet moving. There are very few players as impressive overall, which is why some top programs likely won’t stop pursuing him despite his long-standing commitment to the Orange.

Will Rock, LSM, Gonzaga (D.C.) 
Club affiliations: Madlax
Commitment: Virginia
Rangy and athletic, Rock has been a force in the capital region since he was a freshman starter, helping the Eagles to a sixth straight title this past May. He’s best off the wings, cleanly getting the ball off the ground and into the hands of the offense, then going back on D to show off precise checks and an active stick in the passing lanes. When called upon, Rock has shown that he can also make an impact down low.

Alex Rode, G, St. Paul’s (Md.)
Club affiliations: Baltimore Breakers
Commitment: Virginia
Though he’s had to sit behind a former Under Armour All-American at SP, Rode has shown the country what he’s able to do in cage as a fiery southpaw netminder. Two of his best assets are that he’s poised and consistent, which allows him to steadily put together big-time summer performances. Few goalies frustrate shooters in close as much as Rode does.

Frankie Tangredi, D, Chaminade (N.Y.)
Club affiliations: Tenacious Turtles
Commitment: Ivy League
Perhaps not a prototypical defenseman at just 5-foot-9, Tangredi might be the most polished cover man in the entire class. He’s a hard-nosed pest to opposing dodgers, staying heavy on their hands and constantly maintaining great position and terrific footwork. Also gets his stick in the passing lane for interceptions and is a gifted communicator for his age.

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