MLL Draftees: Where Were They Ranked In High School?

mattlandis.jpgI’ve always taken pride in doing player rankings each year. I spend entirely too much time and energy putting them together (due to being the world’s biggest over-thinker) but there’s no better feeling than when the metaphorical ink is dry and they’re posted online for all to view. It’s certainly not easy considering the volume and geography of North America’s top talent, but kids are playing more lacrosse than ever, making it easier for college coaches and journalists to evaluate and make decisions.

Now that the 2016 MLL Draft has passed, I wanted to go back and analyze how the high school recruits in the 2011 and 2012 HS graduating classes panned out. At the time, I was working at Inside Lacrosse, given free reign to do the rankings myself starting in 2010. Now that the players are months away from finishing their college careers and the draft picks have been made, now seems like a good time to analyze who I missed, where I hit the nail on the head and where there’s room for improvement. People are always skeptical of rankings of prep lacrosse players, saying that it’s too difficult for me to cover the entire country & Canada, too politically/geographically skewed or any other ridiculous reason. I’ve accepted that I’ll never be close to perfect – many top lacrosse coaches say that they aim to hit on 50 percent of their recruits, and I strive for the same type of mark. At the end of the day, it’s close to impossible to project how a 14-18 year old will fare in college.

There are simply too many variables when it comes to predicting collegiate success. Will the kid rest on his laurels? Is the depth chart unfavorable? Is the school and/or program the wrong fit? Does he put in the extra time on the wall, weight room or shooting? What about injuries or off-the-field issues? The list goes on and on.

Have a look at the players drafted by the MLL, where they’re and where they were (or weren’t) ranked coming out of high school. The draft isn’t always the best way to measure the so-called “hit rate” of recruiting rankings, due mostly to the fact that teams are addressing needs and value different players/positions. In many cases, teams constantly draft local players (I’m looking at you, Ohio and Boston), which skews things geographically – the state of Ohio had the third most players drafted, for instance. Regardless, it’s fun to look at, at least now before the season ends and there’s a follow-up with concrete four-year results to go through. 

1. Atlanta Blaze — Myles Jones, M, Duke
High school: Whitman, NY
Rank: No. 8 postgrad — 2012

Thinking back to the first time that I saw Myles play in the summer of 2009, it wasn’t at all a surprise to see him become the first overall pick. He oozed athleticism, size and confidence but was still raw despite being ranked as a top 10 recruit throughout his entire high school career. During his prep year at Salisbury (Conn.), Jones actually publicly stated that he wanted to play college basketball, getting looks from mid-majors like St. Bonaventure, Richmond, Bryant and Iona. Opposing coaches weren’t totally blown away by his prowess on the lacrosse field (though the tools were all there, they said), hence the “drop” to No. 8 in what was a loaded class of PG’s nationally. However, Jones headed down Durham and improved exponentially each year, a byproduct of both his work ethic and the staff’s knack for developing talent. Right now,  Myles Jones appears primed to be the next face of the sport and deservedly so.

2. Charlotte Hounds — Dylan Donahue, A, Syracuse
High school: West Genesee, NY
Rank: None — 2011

If you must know, I once accidentally ranked Donahue as the 30th rising junior in North America. The only problem? He was a senior. We all make mistakes – that was just a big one in my first year of rankings, so too was not ranking him pre-college despite 198 points in three seasons at Genny. For whatever reason (perhaps a lack of size), the sharpshooting lefty was under recruited and ended up following his aspirations by attending Air Force, though he would leave three months later. He’d spend the 2012 season at Syracuse — where his father, Kevin, is an assistant coach —  as a redshirt before breaking through the following season. Donahue may not pass the eye test but he’s incredibly intelligent, sneaky and opportunistic off-ball, finishing over 50% of his shots in two of the last three seasons. His 50 goals and 21 assists last year came on a loading starting six for the Orange – how will Donahue finish his career now that he’s a marked man?

3. Florida Launch — Matt Landis, D, Notre Dame
High school: Pelham Memorial, NY
Rank: No. 66 overall, No. 18 defenseman — 2012

Landis didn’t really even play club ball, getting looks from Hopkins and Notre Dame (the only two schools he visited) thanks to his play with the Hudson Valley squad in the now-defunct Empire State Games. For those reasons, he wasn’t really on my radar until close to the time that he arrived in South Bend and received rave reviews from Irish defensive coordinator Gerry Byrne. The former three-sport standout is big (6’2, 175) with long arms, super keen off-ball and a phenomenal cover man, someone who blanketed Lyle Thompson as well as anybody in the country. Defenders that stand out on the recruiting trail are usually takeaway/transition machines when it’s simply a given that those types aren’t always effective, depending on the system, of course. Landis has been the best defenseman in the country for the past two years by fitting Notre Dame’s defensive principles rather perfectly, relying on footwork, controlled aggression and off-ball prowess more than a slick stick that puts the ball on the ground.

4. Charlotte Hounds — Ryan Brown, A, Hopkins
High school: Calvert Hall, MD
Rank: No. 30 overall, No. 9 attackman — 2012

When the former Dartmouth commit verballed to Hopkins as a rising junior, I actually hadn’t heard of Brown (he transferred MIAA schools and had to sit out as a sophomore) despite being a Baltimore guy myself. With that said, I was able to watch him play dozens of times throughout his prep career. His blistering outside shot obviously jumped off the page, but his inconsistency did too. He was a spotty shooter and often turnover-prone but it was pretty apparent that he could become a star once he put everything together. Brown has done exactly that in his time at Homewood, compiling 118 goals and 34 assists through three seasons, playing midfield as a freshman then attack the last two springs. To me, he’s one of the college lacrosse’s best pure shooters (with no drop-off when using his “off hand”) in the last 20 years and will fare well in the MLL, especially from the two-point line.

5. Denver Outlaws — Matt Kavanagh, A, Notre Dame
High school: Chaminade, NY
Rank: No. 1 postgrad, No. 1 attackman — 2012

Let’s be real, it’s hard not to have a man crush on the way that Kavanagh plays. The fiery lefty from Long Island committed to Notre Dame following his junior season, earning a No. 34 ranking after tearing up the Under Armour Underclass Games. Informed during his senior year that he’d have to do a postgrad year, Kavanagh visited and strongly considered Maryland but stayed on board with the Irish while attending Hotchkiss School in Connecticut. His stock skyrocketed even higher when he helped the U.S. U-19 team to a championship in Finland, earning tournament MVP honors with 20 goals and 11 assists. Ever since I started evaluating him, his chip-on-the-shoulder mentality was apparent, as he was almost always the smallest on the field but often the quickest, toughest and most fearless. Kavanagh has fared impeccably during his time in South Bend, setting a Notre Dame freshman scoring record and earning All-American honors each season all while becoming a clutch scorer that the Irish could lean on.

6. Boston Cannons — Greg Coholan, A/M, Virginia
High school: Irondequoit, NY
Rank: No. 91 overall, No. 29 attackman — 2011

Coholan’s prep stardom came before the Rochester area was viewed as a hotbed — which it undoubtedly is now, especially with the rise in club ball. At that point, upstate kids didn’t really travel down to the Mid-Atlantic to get seen, though he still wound up as IL’s No. 47 rising senior. Coholan has always been someone who could thrive at both attack and middie but there’s no doubt that he’s exceeded expectations in Charlottesville. His versatility, shooting percentage and intelligence all stand out — he’s always in the right spot and has an absolute cannon with his feet set. Coholan’s another kid who will be more of a priority for opponents to stop now that the Wahoos had some graduation losses.

7. Rochester Rattlers — Matt Dunn, D, Maryland
High school: Loyola Blakefield, MD
Rank: No. 89 overall, No. 26 defenseman — 2012

Believe it or not, Dunn committed to the Terps as a rising senior, deciding on the in-state program after looking primarily at Princeton, UVA and Brown. Despite being an excellent prospect, he never received much press for his play besides Baltimore Sun 2nd team All-Metro honors as a senior. Looking back, I probably overlooked his importance as a cerebral field general who has always played with a mean streak. Dunn has started the last two seasons for John Tillman’s Terps and started to get a lot of credit for his play last spring in particular. He’ll be needed even more this year, as the defense won’t be able to rely on the possession advantage that departed face-off man Charlie Raffa supplied them with.

8. Ohio Machine — Michael Quinn, LSM/D, Yale
High school: Chaminade, NY
Rank: No. 2 postgrad — 2012

Now that he’s a preseason first team All-American and first round pick, I guess we can all stop calling Quinn ‘underrated’, right? Deciding on Yale before it was cool (and before their three straight Ivy titles), he was a force as a Chaminade Flyer and then prepped at Hotchkiss with teammate Matt Kavanagh, dominating both offensively and defensively. Quinn is relentless, athletic and fundamentally sound, able to bump back and forth between LSM and close D if necessary. It’s good to finally see the kid get some credit and there’s no doubt that he’ll enjoy a strong career professionally.

9. Boston Cannons — Brandon Mullins, D, Syracuse
High school: Coppell, TX
Rank: No. 38 overall, No. 10 defenseman — 2011

Mullins has been the darling of many lacrosse media types, mainly due to his non-hotbed upbringing and background as a linebacker named Texas’ 5A Player of the Year back in 2010. I’m sure you know by now that he had offers to play at schools like Oklahoma, Texas, TCU and Notre Dame. On the lacrosse field, he’s imposed his will and has acted as a crucial piece of the puzzle for Syracuse. My eyes bleed when he’s playing off-ball defense, but it’s cool, he’s massive and throws nasty checks. Players like that usually fare well in the MLL, so I’m rooting for him.

Rounds 2-8

10. Atlanta Blaze — Deemer Class, M, Duke
High school: Loyola Blakefield, MD
Rank: No. 10 overall, No. 3 midfielder — 2012

11. Ohio Machine — Kyle Bernlohr, G, Maryland
High school: Western Reserve, OH
Rank: No. 67 overall, No. 9 goalie — 2011
*Originally committed to Ohio State

12. Florida Launch — Henry West, M, Maryland
High school: Darien, CT
Rank: No. 17 overall, No. 5 midfielder — 2012
*Transferred from Cornell

13. Charlotte Hounds — Pat Young, M, Maryland
High school: Christchurch, VA
Rank: None — 2012

14. Denver Outlaws — Stephen Jahelka, D, Harvard
High school: Garden City, NY
Rank: No. 8 overall, No. 1 defenseman — 2011

15. Atlanta Blaze — Tyler Albrecht, M, Loyola
High school: St. Michael’s, ONT
Rank: None — 2012
*Originally committed to Cornell, PG’ed at Millbrook in New York; 8th in Jason Donville’s Canadian rising HS senior rankings on IL

16. Ohio Machine — Bryan Cole, M, Maryland
High school: Hill Academy, ONT
Rank: None — 2012
*19th in Jason Donville’s Canadian rising HS senior rankings on IL

17. Rochester Rattlers — John Edmonds, M, Cornell
High school: Ward Melville, NY
Rank: No. 61 overall, No. 20 midfielder — 2012

18. Charlotte Hounds — Nick Doktor, A, Penn
High school: Irondequoit, NY
Rank: No. 38 overall, No. 11 attackman

19. Atlanta Blaze — Greg Danseglio, D, Maryland
High school: St. Anthony’s, NY
Rank: No. 25 overall, No. 8 defenseman — 2011
*Transferred from Virginia

20. Charlotte Hounds — Colin Woolford, M, Denver
High school: Choate Rosemary Hall, CT
Rank: None — 2012
*Transferred from Syracuse

21. Florida Launch — Liam Byrnes, LSM, Marquette
High school: West Islip, NY
Rank: None — 2011

22. Chesapeake Bayhawks — John Maloney, M, Albany
High school: Victor, NY
Rank: None — 2012

23. Denver Outlaws — Matt Hossack, LSM, RIT
High school: Port Perry, ONT
Rank: None — 2012

24. New York Lizards — James Pannell, A, Virginia
High school: Smithtown West, NY
Rank: No. 5 overall, No. 3 attackman — 2012

25. Florida Launch — Steve Pontrello, A/M, North Carolina
High school: St. Augustine, NJ
Rank: No. 13 overall, No. 4 midfielder — 2012

26. Charlotte Hounds — Brendan Caputo, M, Brown
High school: Chaminade, NY
Rank: None — 2012

27. Charlotte Hounds — Tyler White, G, Towson
High school: Corning East, NY
Rank: No. 92 overall, No. 10 goalie — 2011

28. Florida Launch — Gunnar Waldt, G, Bryant
High school: St. Paul’s, MD
Rank: No. 61 overall, No. 7 goalie — 2011
*Went to Bryant as a football recruit

29. Florida Launch — Robby Haus, D, Ohio State
High school: Gilman, MD
Rank: No. 7 defenseman — 2012

30. Chesapeake Bayhawks — Mark Glicini, M, Yale
High school: Mahwah, NJ
Rank: No. 11 postgrad — 2012

31. Denver Outlaws — Sam Llinares, A, Hofstra
High school: Hauppauge, NY
Rank: No. 25 overall, No. 8 attackman — 2012

32. Boston Cannons — Challen Rogers, M, Stony Brook
High school: Dr. Charles Best, BC
Rank: None — 2012
*5th in Jason Donville’s Canadian rising HS senior rankings on IL

33. Ohio Machine — Bobby Schmitt, LSM, Bellarmine
High school: St. Xavier, KY
Rank: None — 2011

34. Rochester Rattlers — TJ Neubauer, M, Fairfield
High school: Loyola Blakefield, MD
Rank: No. 79 overall, No. 24 midfielder — 2012

35. New York Lizards — Jacob Richard, M, Marquette
High school: West Chester Henderson, PA
Rank: None — 2012

36. Atlanta Blaze — Warren Hill, G, Syracuse
High school: Hill Academy, ONT
Rank: None – 2012
*Originally committed to Marquette, went to Onondaga CC; 1st in Jason Donville’s Canadian rising HS senior rankings on IL

37. Charlotte Hounds — Goran Murray, D, Maryland
High school: Haverford, PA
Rank: No. 27 overall, No. 9 defenseman — 2011

38. Ohio Machine — Dan Lomas, A, High Point
High school: Notre Dame, ONT
Rank: None — 2012
*35th in Jason Donville’s Canadian rising HS senior rankings on IL

39. New York Lizards — Ryan Ambler, A, Princeton
High school: Abington, PA
Rank: No. 88 overall, No. 28 attackman — 2012

40. Denver Outlaws — BJ Grill, D, Marquette
High school: Bridgewater-Raritan, NJ
Rank: None — 2011

41. Boston Cannons — Jake Matthai, M, North Carolina
High school: Gilman, MD
Rank: No. 12 midfielder — 2012

42. Ohio Machine — Mike Messenger, M, Limestone
High school: Lord Tweedsmuir, BC
Rank: None – 2012
*Transferred from High Point; 15th in Jason Donville’s Canadian rising HS senior rankings on IL

43. New York Lizards — David Manning, D, Loyola
High school: Chapel Hill, NC
Rank: No. 36 defenseman — 2011

44. Ohio Machine — Cam Williams, M, Colgate
High school: Upper Arlington, OH
Rank: None — 2012
*PG’ed at Loomis Chaffee (Conn.)

45. Charlotte Hounds — Joseph Radin, A, Marist
High school: Long Beach, NY
Rank: None — 2012

46. Florida Launch — Devin Dwyer, A, Harvard
High school: Garden City, NY
Rank: No. 4 overall, No. 2 attackman — 2012

47. Chesapeake Bayhawks — Zach Herreweyers, A, Loyola
High school: Hill Academy, ONT
Rank: No. 53 overall, No. 16 attackman — 2012

48. Denver Outlaws — Tim Barber, M, Syracuse
High school: West Genesee, NY
Rank: No. 92 overall, No. 28 midfielder — 2012
*Originally committed to Marquette, went to Onondaga CC

49. Boston Cannons — John Uppgren, A, Tufts
High school: Choate Rosemary Hall, CT
Rank: None — 2012

50. Ohio Machine — Zach Powers, D, North Carolina
High school: Upper Arlington, OH
Rank: No. 28 overall, No. 9 defenseman — 2012

51. Rochester Rattlers — Blaze Riorden, G, Albany
High school: Fairport, NY
Rank: No. 74 overall, No. 9 goalie — 2012

52. New York Lizards — Brody Eastwood, A, Stony Brook
High school: Belmont Secondary, BC
Rank: None — 2012

53. Atlanta Blaze — Case Matheis, A, Duke
High school: Darien, CT
Rank: No. 1 overall, No. 1 attackman — 2012

54. Charlotte Hounds — Evan Connell, LSM/D, North Carolina
High school: Calvert Hall, MD
Rank: No. 11 overall, No. 2 defenseman — 2012

55. Chesapeake Bayhawks — Michael Howard, LSM, Virginia
High school: Collegiate, VA
Rank: No. 86 overall, No. 25 defenseman — 2012

56. Chesapeake Bayhawks — Carter Brown, A, Ohio State
High school: Calvert Hall, MD
Rank: None — 2012

57. Denver Outlaws — Jack Kelly, G, Brown
High school: West Islip, NY
Rank: No. 63 overall, No. 7 goalie — 2012

58. Boston Cannons — Matt Thistle, A, High Point
High school: Bishop Guertin, NH
Rank: None — 2011
*Transferred from Manhattan

59. Ohio Machine — Vince Gravino, A, Canisius
High school: St. Edward’s, OH
Rank: None — 2012

60. Rochester Rattlers — Eric DeJohn, A, St. John’s
High school: Jamesville-DeWitt, NY
Rank: No. 2 postgrad — 2011
*PG’ed at Trinity-Pawling (N.Y.); transferred from Syracuse

61. Charlotte Hounds — Zack Sikora, LSM, Rutgers
High school: Centreville, VA
Rank: None — 2012

62. Rochester Rattlers — Austin Schultz, D, Army
High school: Manheim Township, PA
Rank: None – 2010
*Transferred from Bucknell

63. Charlotte Hounds — Shane Morrell, A, Bryant
High school: Episcopal Academy, PA
Rank: None – 2011

64. Florida Launch — Alex Spring, LSM, Bucknell
High school: Western Reserve, OH
Rank: None — 2012

65. Chesapeake Bayhawks — Holden Cattoni, M, Hopkins
High school: West Island Secondary, ALB
Rank: None — 2012
*10th in Jason Donville’s Canadian rising HS senior rankings on IL

66. Denver Outlaws — Conor Helfrich, F/O, Tufts
High school: Lawrence Academy, MA
Rank: None – 2012
*Originally committed to Delaware

67. Boston Cannons — Cameron Bell, G, Endicott
High school: Falmouth, ME
Rank: None — 2012

68. Ohio Machine — Derrick Kihembo, LSM, Johns Hopkins
High school: Sycamore, OH
Rank: None — 2012

69. Rochester Rattlers — Sal Tuttle, A, Adelphi
High school: Farmingdale: NY
Rank: No. 74 overall, No. 24 attackman — 2011

70. New York Lizards — Scott Bieda, A, Rutgers
High school: Bridgewater-Raritan, NJ
Rank: None — 2012

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