Recruiting Rundown’s Top 50 Sophomores and Class of 2018 Watchlist

Ross UA Upstate 5After nearly a year of scouting, countless recruiting events and upwards of 8,000 words of player feedback from college coaches, it’s time for Recruiting Rundown‘s inaugural list of the nation’s top sophomores.

With the increase in freshman recruiting, it’s becoming easier and easier to eyeball the country’s top talent all in one place each summer. Though 150+ 2018’s were off the board by mid-July, club tournaments and individual showcases helped college coaches (and yours truly) evaluate talent.

I’ve spent the last few weeks pouring over roster booklets, pages of notes, video and interviews with Division I’s recruiters and am pleased to announce the top 50 Sophomores & Watchlist.

1. Ross Pridemore, A, McCallie (Tenn.)highlights
Commitment: Virginia
Club affiliations: SweetLax
College coaches say: “His IQ stands out more than anything. The most valuable players to recruit are goalies and X attackman and he’s definitely the most polished kid in terms of pure skill… I see him quarterbacking Virginia’s attack as soon as [Ryan] Lukacovic graduates.”
Ty’s Take: Earning 1st Team All-Western New England honors in a league dominated by 18 and 19-year-olds, Pridemore made a statement this spring when he led Taft School (Conn.) in scoring with 23 goals and 23 assists. On top of that, he was one of just eight 2018’s in the entire Under Armour Underclass event and ended up as Upstate’s 2nd leading scorer, following that up with excellent showings at Maverik Showtime and with the SweetLax program. After a year that also saw him start at running back on the varsity football team, he’ll now head to McCallie School (Tenn.) in Chattanooga, just a few hours from his birthplace of Atlanta. Slick, shifty and dynamic, he’s the prototypical quarterback who turns the corner impeccably, unselfishly sets up teammates well and buries everything with time and room. For that, Ross Pridemore earns the No. 1 spot in the first Class of 2018 rankings.

2. Matt Magnan, M, Fox Lane (N.Y.)
Commitment: Syracuse
Club affiliations: Prime Time
College coaches say: “He’s so dynamic, gets to the rack with almost a deceiving kind of burst and has an elite shot on the run… Magnan’s just one of those guys we all watched in the fall and said ‘Holy Jesus’ and you knew right off the bat he’s not gonna get any worse.”
Ty’s Take: Standing 6’3 or so, Magnan could probably pass for an ACC midfielder right now – several college coaches diagnosed his game as ‘college-ready’ at this early stage. The dynamic lefty has an absolute cannon from the outside but has developed his shot with his off-hand so much that he was essentially able to score at will wherever he went this summer. Using his big frame, he gets to the cage in a variety of ways and fought off even the most talented longstick middies. Most impressively, he’s seemingly complete, pitching in as a force for Prime Time between the lines and on defense. After committing to Syracuse in October, Magnan registered 55 points for Fox Lane’s varsity squad this spring

3. Isaiah Dawson, M, Bishop’s (Calif.) highlights
Commitment: Ivy League
Club affiliations: West Coast Starz, RC
College coaches say: “Enormous upside and is just scratching the surface of what he’s capable of… Love how he glides down the field, shakes people and makes LSMs look like nothing. Can feed, shoot, face-off and play defense so well.”
Ty’s Take: Dawson’s speed is what that jumps off the page initially, as the game just appears easy to him based on his overflowing natural athleticism. He’s incredibly poised and graceful with the ball and his stick, putting his skills on display to grab All-Tournament honors with the West squad during Under Armour weekend. Fundamentally, he does things the right way and once he fills out his 6’2, 170-pound frame, Dawson projects favorably as a lefty playmaker who will always draw an immediate slide. His split dodge and shot on the run are off the charts and he often acts as the one-man clear before tallying in transition. Pledged to an Ivy League admissions process early in the spring after looking hard at Duke and several others.

4. Ricky Miezan, M, Episcopal (Va.) highlights
Commitment: North Carolina
Club affiliations: Madlax
College coaches say: “Such a force – when his shooting develops a bit, he’ll be absolutely fantastic. Physically, he’s a specimen and is a presence where your eyes go right to him… Ricky’s simply a kid where the sky is the limit for him.”
Ty’s Take: More than anybody out there, Miezan is the type of player that you just want to see more of. Not because he’s unproven or anything, but because his upside is so captivating. He’s gotta be close to 6’3 and 200 pounds with D1 soccer potential and a repertoire of skills that resembles a young Myles Jones. A powerful dodger, he sweeps across the top of the box and hammers outside shots with velocity, sometimes even running over opponents when barreling downfield. Miezan fared exceptionally well in the fall before committing to Carolina in December, following that up with a great Platinum Cup performance after a huge spring for the Maroons. Once he refines his skills a bit more, Miezan will be considerably more unstoppable.

5. Grayson Sallade, M, Manheim Township (Pa.) highlights
Commitment: Virginia
Club affiliations: Big 4 HHH, Low & Away
College coaches say: “Best shooter I’ve seen at that age in a long time… Reminds me a little of a guy like Drew Snider – good tools, snaps the ball out and has an extremely high athletic IQ. Compared to the other top five middies, he might have the best lacrosse skills.”
Ty’s Take: The most intriguing prospect to ever come out of Central PA, Sallade is able to get hot and take over games with just the flick of a wrist, regularly putting up hat tricks playing with Big 4 during the fall recruiting circuit. Though not as much of an eye-popping athlete as the top four, he’s a standout QB and linebacker for the Blue Streaks, using strong vision to his advantage on the lacrosse field. Sallade possesses a phenomenal release with his feet set to provide offense but can also scoop huge groundballs, play hard-nosed defense up top and run wings with success. Looks very much the part of the type of midfielder that UVA likes, choosing the Wahoos early in December.

6. Joey Epstein, A, Landon (Md.)
Commitment: Johns Hopkins
Club affiliations: Madlax
College coaches say: “Scores a million goals. He plays with an edge and seems like a kid who is tough and fearless… Very ambidextrous, can run the offense, has awesome vision and is just very complete. Fun kid to watch.”
Ty’s Take: Expectations placed on Epstein were already super high after becoming the sport’s earliest verbal ever (at the time). As a freshman, all he did was shatter the storied Landon program’s freshman scoring record with 30 goals and 28 assists against top notch competition, showing confidence and poise beyond his years while dodging hard to the cage. A workhorse who runs by defensemen or puts his shoulder into them, his skills and IQ are insanely polished, showing consistency and fiery play to lead Madlax to a strong summer. Flourished at Crabfeast, Under Armour and the IL Invitational, among others. Also an excellent running back and linebacker on the Bears’ varsity roster, starting as a freshman.

7. Jacob Kelly, A, Calvert Hall (Md.) highlights
Commitment: North Carolina
Club affiliations: FCA Maryland
College coaches say: “You can tell that because of growing up with the lacrosse background that he has, he just understands the game better than anybody. Other thing that stands out about Jacob is how many truly big goals he scores.”
Ty’s Take: The oldest son of Calvert Hall head coach Bryan Kelly, the smooth lefty quarterback blossomed on the Cardinals’ varsity, working alongside cousin Timmy Kelly (a freshman at UNC) at attack. He ended up with an impressive 31 goals and 33 assists to finish 2nd on the team before putting together a summer that raised his stock even higher. Though not big by any means at 5’9 and 145 pounds, his smarts, vision and dodging prowess make him an awesome recruit who is able to pick apart opposing defenses when he’s on. Helped lead FCA to championships at the U-15 National Championships and Crabfeast.

8. Will Bowen, D, Boston College HS (Mass.) highlights
Commitment: North Carolina
Club affiliations: Laxachusetts
College coaches say: “One of those Laxachusetts bruise brothers that will beat you up pretty good… has a confidence to him where he looks like he belongs in college right now. He’s as good as anybody out there.”
Ty’s Take: While rising sophomore defensemen are always hard to evaluate in the early stages, Bowen’s résumé and skill set brings him the honor of the Class of 2018’s top d-man at the moment. He’s big (6’1, 200) and shows an awesome mean streak, frequently erasing some of the most impressive attackmen with superb footwork, strong position play and lights out takeaway checks. Once the ball’s dislodged, Bowen shows soft hands off the ground and helps Laxachusetts trigger their transition game. Fits in perfectly with Chris Fiefs’ defense in Chapel Hill, committing to the Tar Heels in early February.

9. Jordan Ginder, FO/M, Deerfield Academy (Mass.)
Commitment: Duke
Club affiliations: Team 91
College coaches say: “What gets lost with face-offs is that bodies aren’t built to play three games in one day and certainly aren’t when you’re getting a pole thrown at you to beat you up. He does that multiple times a weekend so I’d say his physical toughness is unquestioned.”
Ty’s Take: In a top-heavy group of face-off guys, Ginder stands out as the best, working extensively with Major League Lacrosse MVP Greg Gurenlian when he isn’t providing Team 91 with plentiful possession time. The NYC native has rapid hand speed and an unmatched competitive drive, but what separates him is his well roundedness, showing off an offensive skill set that causes you to eliminates the ‘FOGO’ moniker when describing him. Almost always wins the clamp and seldom needs his wings, popping the ball out in front of him before showing off excellent decision making. Will transfer from Brooklyn’s Poly Prep to Deerfield’s illustrious program in Western Massachusetts, which will only help his game.

10. Frank Marinello, D, Chaminade (N.Y.)
Commitment: Duke
Club affiliations: Team 91
College coaches say: “The thing I love is that he can cover the quick guy or the big guy but also takes the team-first approach where he’s so impressive sliding to help…. Plays position really well and performs with a noticeable amount of intensity.”
Ty’s Take: Following the Flyers’ pipeline to John Danowski’s program, Marinello already looks the part with his ranginess, so he’ll fit in well down in Durham. He moves incredibly well considering his size and is extremely polished off-ball, sliding with vengeance to trigger turnovers. Marinello is especially tough around GLE, turning his man and giving them such fits that they rarely try going at him again. Spent the summer eating attackmen alive with brutal checks and a motor that stands out from the get go, showing intensity when covering his man and then pushing the ball upfield seamlessly.

11. John John Lombardi, M, Salisbury (Conn.)
Commitment: Michigan
Club affiliations: SweetLax
Ty’s Take: Rochester native is tough as nails built like a fire hydrant yet freakishly athletic. Takes face-offs, plays two-way middie and has started to play attack. Massive pickup for the Wolverines.

12. Joe Neuman, F/O, Salisbury (Conn.)
Commitment: Johns Hopkins
Club affiliations: SweetLax
Ty’s Take: Undersized but an absolute warrior who wears people down at the X. Stud technician who is transferring from Whitman (N.Y.), joining incoming club teammate Lombardi.

13. Andrew Bonafede, G, Chaminade (N.Y.)
Commitment: Duke
Club affiliations: LI Express
Ty’s Take: In a tier by himself for the time being. Phenomenal shot-stopper who stays poised and possesses excellent instincts, hand speed and clearing ability.

14. Griffin Gelinas, A, Brunswick (Conn.) highlights
Commitment: Syracuse
Club affiliations: Prime Time
Ty’s Take: Incredibly explosive with great change of direction and an even better outside shot. Tough kid who blows by his man and consistently fills up a stat sheet.

15. Sam Dwinell, M, Middlesex (Mass.) highlights
Commitment: Duke
Club affiliations: 3d New England, 3d National
Ty’s Take: Tore up Maverik Showtime by creating phenomenal separation down the alley. Slick stick skills and toughness that comes from a hockey background.

16. BJ Farrare, M/D, McDonogh (Md.)
Status: Uncommitted
Club affiliations: Baltimore Crabs
Ty’s Take: Proven at the varsity level, often shutting down the opponent’s No. 1 threat. Athletic and versatile, getting interest for football and basketball. UVA might be the team to beat.

17. Griffin Westlin, M, Seton Hall Prep (N.J.)highlights
Commitment: Johns Hopkins
Club affiliations: Leading Edge
Ty’s Take: Lefty established himself as big time in November. Fluid shot on the run but does the dirty work between the lines as well. Does a great job of not doing too much.

18. Jordan Young, D, Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.)
Commitment: Maryland
Club affiliations: Big 4 HHH
Ty’s Take: Originally a ’17 but had to re-class when he transferred. Will remind Terp fans of Goran Murray but quicker and stronger. Constantly puts the ball on the ground.

19. Sean Kuttin, M, Chaminade (N.Y.) highlights
Commitment: Johns Hopkins
Club affiliations: Team 91
Ty’s Take: Head up dodger with awesome burst out of his dodge. Might be as two-handed a middie as there is in the 2018 class, though I’d expect him to start playing more attack.

20. Nicky Solomon, A, Centennial (Ga.) highlights
Commitment: North Carolina
Club affiliations: LB3
Ty’s Take: Confident playmaker who excels when surrounded by the right guys. Turns the corner hard. Fleet-footed, high IQ kid is probably the best riding attackman out there.

21. Emmett Jones, D, Lakeridge (Ore.) highlights
Commitment: Michigan
Club affiliations: 3d Oregon, 3d National
Ty’s Take: Gifted, aggressive lefty with insane stick work and excellent lifts. Moves nimbly for a kid his size, taking long strides in transition. Super polished – not just for an Oregon kid.

22. Jack Myers, A, Gonzaga (D.C.)
Status: Uncommitted
Club affiliations: Baltimore Crabs
Ty’s Take: Tall lefty is getting interest from Duke, the Ivies and others. Crafty around the cage and pieced together over 30 points for a team that finished top five in the country.

23. Luke Summers, M, Parkland (Pa.) highlights
Commitment: Michigan
Club affiliations: Big 4 HHH
Ty’s Take: Another big, athletic and smooth left-hander. Possesses a blistering shot from long range, often using a nasty split dodge. One of those kids who just knows how to score.

24. Oliver Hollo, LSM, Deerfield (Mass.) highlights
Commitment: Ivy League
Club affiliations: Patriot
Ty’s Take: Imposing athlete with ridiculous stick work. Needs to improve from a 1-on-1 standpoint but is tremendously impactful between the boxes. Puts the ball in the net a ton.

25. Cade Saustad, LSM/D, Highland Park (Tex.)
Commitment: Virginia
Club affiliations: Texas Mustangs, Madlax National
Ty’s Take: Towering presence at 6’4 who runs like a deer. Developed his stick work a ton since the November recruiting circuit and has considerable upside. Talented TE in football.

Players 25-50

26. Michael Ubriaco, LSM, Boys’ Latin (Md.) highlights
Commitment: Johns Hopkins
Club affiliations: Baltimore Crabs

27. Harrison Schertzinger, M, Summit Country Day (Oh.) highlights
Commitment: North Carolina
Club affiliations: Resolute

28. Owen Caputo, M, Middle Creek (N.C.)
Commitment: Duke
Club affiliations: Team 91

29. Evan Zinn, M, Staples (Conn.)
Commitment: Johns Hopkins
Club affiliations: Express North

30. Zach Friedland, A/M, Torrey Pines (Calif.) highlights
Commitment: Georgetown
Club affiliations: West Coast Starz, RC

31. Brian Cameron, A, Brewster Academy (N.H.) highlights
Commitment: North Carolina
Club affiliations: NH Tomahawks

32. Wilson Stephenson, D, Brunswick (Conn.) highlights
Commitment: Duke
Club affiliations: Prime Time

33. Zach Green, A, Calvert Hall (Md.)
Status: Uncommitted
Club affiliations: FCA Maryland

34. Will Kusnierek, A/M, Chaminade (N.Y.) highlights
Commitment: Notre Dame
Club affiliations: LI Express

35. Zac Tucci, F/O, Bedford (N.H.) highlights
Commitment: Cornell
Club affiliations: NH Tomahawks

36. J.P. Lannig, A, Syosset (N.Y.) – highlights
Commitment: Michigan
Club affiliations: LI Express

37. Robbie Olsen, M, Loyola Blakefield (Md.)
Commitment: Penn
Club affiliations: Baltimore Crabs

38. Caton Johnson, G, Manheim Township (Pa.) highlights
Commitment: North Carolina
Club affiliations: Duke’s LC, Low & Away

39. Alex Bamford, A, Brunswick (Conn.) – highlights
Commitment: Michigan
Club affiliations: Team 91

40. Brett Makar, LSM/D, Yorktown (N.Y.)
Commitment: Maryland
Club affiliations: Yorktown Ballers

41. Quinn McCahon, M, Malvern Prep (Pa.) highlights
Commitment: Penn
Club affiliations: Big 4 HHH

42. Max Verch, LSM/D, Syosset (N.Y.) highlights
Commitment: Maryland
Club affiliations: Team 91

43. Brian Antonelli, A, Belmont Hill (Mass.) – highlights
Commitment: Brown
Club affiliations: Laxachusetts

44. Henry Schertzinger, M, Summit Country Day (Mich.) highlights
Commitment: North Carolina
Club affiliations: Resolute

45. Mark Rakowski, D, Lawrenceville (N.J.) highlights
Commitment: Penn
Club affiliations: Leading Edge

46. Andrew Russell, M, Victor (N.Y.)
Commitment: Virginia
Club affiliations: SweetLax

47. Evan Egan, D, Oak Park (Calif.)
Commitment: North Carolina
Club affiliations: West Coast Starz, LA Mavs

48. Sam Handley, A, Jesuit (Ore.) highlights
Commitment: Penn
Club affiliations: 3d Oregon, 3d National

49. Brady Kenneally, D, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.)
Commitment: Johns Hopkins
Club affiliations: LI Express

50. Steven Cornwell, LSM, Paul VI (Va.)
Commitment: Maryland
Club affiliations: Madlax

2018 Watchlist

Paxton Alexander, M, Highland Park (Tex.) / C2C – MICHIGAN
Matthew Brandau, A, Boys’ Latin (Md.) / Baltimore Crabs
Braden Burke, LSM, John Jay (N.Y.) / Prime Time – DUKE
Patrick Burkinshaw, G, Brunswick (Conn.) / Eclipse – VIRGINIA
Harrison Caponiti, M, Brunswick (Conn.) / 3d New England
Michael Clibanoff, G, La Salle (Pa.) / Big 4 HHH – OHIO STATE
Jake Calnan, D, Noble & Greenough (Mass.) / Laxachusetts
Jack DeSantis, D, St. Francis DeSales (Oh.) / Resolute – MARYLAND
Xander Dickson, A/M, Brunswick (Conn.) / Eclipse – PENN
Rich Dion, LSM/D, McDonogh (Md.) / Baltimore Crabs – MICHIGAN
Kaleb Fernandez, A/M, Georgetown Prep (Md.) / Blackwolf – PENN
Brett Funk, D, Shawnee (N.J.) / Big 4 HHH – PENN STATE
Colby Gendron, M, Bedford (N.H.) / Laxachusetts – BROWN
Michael Gomez, D, Half Hollow Hills East (N.Y.) / Team 91 – JOHNS HOPKINS
Zach Hobbes, M, Ward Melville (N.Y.) / LI Express – IVY LEAGUE
Kevin Hussey, M, Smithtown East (N.Y.) / LI Express – BROWN
Javon Johnson, A, St. Anne’s Belfield (Va.) / Duke’s LC – MICHIGAN
Zach Johnson, M, Landon (Md.) / Madlax – MICHIGAN
Jake Keller, LSM/D, Hun (N.J.) / Duke’s LC
Jadon Kerry, M, Chanhassen (Mass.) / Team Minnesota – DUKE
Chad Kittaka, A/M, Carmel (Ind.) / Titanium
Tyler Lawton, M, New Providence (N.J.) / Building Blocks – SYRACUSE
Nick Loring, M, Noble & Greenough (Mass.) / Laxachusetts – IVY LEAGUE
Alex Mabbett, M, Victor (N.Y.) / SweetLax – JOHNS HOPKINS
Sean Mooney, A, Kent Island (Md.) / Baltimore Crabs – TOWSON
Teioshontathe McComber, A, Salisbury (Conn.) / SweetLax – ALBANY
Ramsey McCreary, A, The Woodlands (Tex.) / Dallas Select – LOYOLA
Will Nicklaus, M, Benjamin (Fla.) / Palm Beach Revolution – NORTH CAROLINA
Mike Novitsky, D, Victor (N.Y.) / SweetLax – VIRGINIA
Beau Pederson, A, Park City (Ut.) / West Coast Starz
Will Plansky, M, St. Sebastian’s (Mass.) / Laxachusetts – VIRGINIA
Jack Raba, A, Cheshire (Conn.) / CT Cardinals, 3d NE – LOYOLA
Alex Reid, M, Loyola Blakefield (Md.) / FCA Maryland
Drake Schaffner, D, Gonzaga (D.C.) / Blackwolf
Patrick Skalniak, M, Episcopal Dallas (Tex.) / Texas Mustangs, 3d – SYRACUSE
David Sprock, M, Dallas Jesuit (Tex.) / Iron Horse – VIRGINIA
Jake Stevens, M, Culver (Ind.) / Edge – CORNELL
Austin Stewart, M, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.) / Madlax – DENVER
Henry Stites, A, Louisville Collegiate (Ky.) / Titanium – DARTMOUTH
Jack Traynor, A, Malvern Prep (Pa.) / Mesa Fresh
Will Vitton, G, Summit (N.J.) / Leading Edge
George Walsh, D, Calvert Hall (Md.) / FCA Maryland – OHIO STATE
Jacob Walthour, LSM, Columbia (N.J.) / SweetLax – SYRACUSE
Joseph White, A, Collegiate (Va.) / Amped – PENN STATE
Scottie White, A, Malvern Prep (Pa.) / Big 4 HHH – OHIO STATE
*
George Wichelns, A, Connetquot (N.Y.) / Team 91 – MARYLAND
Skyler Wilson, M, Vimy Ridge (Alb.) / Apex, Madlax National – DENVER
Sam Witt, M, Acton-Boxborough (Mass.) / Fighting Clams – AIR FORCE
Jake Wornow, M, Westfield (N.J.) / Leading Edge – IVY LEAGUE
Tate Young, M, Westlake (Tex.) / LI Express, Texas Mustangs – PENN
Logan Zimnoch, A/M, St. Paul’s (Md.) / Breakers – TOWSON

*Wichelns was originally on the list but was left off accidentally due to a copy and paste error. Apologies for the mistake.

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