I’m pleased to introduce the first ever Recruiting Rundown Prep Top 10, sponsored by National 175 through the rest of the month. Different from the Top 25 private school rankings, these are exclusive to boarding schools that take postgraduate players.
It’s a thankless task putting together a ranking of PG teams for many reasons, namely geography. It’s difficult to get up to New England to see most of these teams play, so discussions with head coaches and film are heavily relied on along with comparing scores. Besides IMG, Hill and Hun, none of the teams play many meaningful non-conference matchups that are such great measuring sticks when it comes to assembling power rankings. In addition, the lion’s share of the programs ranked in the Top 10 are located far away from each other, which makes the scheduling particularly tricky.
Beyond that, the NE West lacks a postseason. In other areas, teams aim to find their rhythm in May and June heading into the playoffs. The programs listed below, however, all seem to peak at different times, as building chemistry is tough since touted PG’s enter the mix each season. With all of that said, you’ll see crazy results and inconsistency, plus you may have a team that has a front-loaded schedule and then some that face slates that are easy to start then daunting in the late season. If I had to guess, the league will (hopefully) have some clarity in the coming days with what’s on the docket.
More on National 175
Based in Connecticut, the company runs a series of recruiting events, both team tournaments and individual showcases. National 175 Summer Showcase, their flagship event, takes place at RPI (just outside of Albany, N.Y.) from July 25th to the 27th. A prime opportunity to get seen by dozens of college coaches, the event is open to players in the classes to 2017 to 2020. For more on the event, check out the website as well as a direct link to registration.
1. Hill Academy (Ont.), 9-0
With seven wins against teams ranked in the Sideline Swap / Recruiting Rundown Private School Top 25 at some point in the year (as well as five currently in the national top 25), Hill Academy has an incredible body of work. Just like nearly other team listed, they don’t have a postseason, but will finish out the year with Hun (N.J.) and Hill School (Pa.) this weekend.
2. Deerfield (Mass.), 9-1
The Big Green didn’t begin the year in the Top 25, but started with a bang after beating a powerful Brunswick (Conn.) squad for the third year in a row. Beyond that, they have some flat out dominant wins over fellow Prep Top 10 teams Berkshire (17-4), Westminster (10-6) and Taft (14-7), only suffering a loss to Trinity-Pawling in overtime.
3. IMG Academy (Fla.), 12-1
After a breakout season in 2015, IMG had some trouble getting teams to play them, so the strength of schedule wasn’t what they had hoped. Regardless, they possess one of the most explosive offenses in the country (averaging 19.1 GPG) and have respectable wins over Everest Academy (Ont.) as well as some of New Jersey’s best programs.
4. Salisbury (Conn.), 7-2
The Crimson Knights are on a roll since starting the season 2-2, winning five consecutive games to prove their worth. A number of tests remain, as Salisbury still has to play a bevy of teams in this poll between now and May 25th. The 14-8 win over Trinity-Pawling on April 13th is a big reason for their No. 4 position.
5. Trinity-Pawling (N.Y.), 8-2
Nic Bell’s squad has a pair of wins as impressive as anybody in the league after edging Deerfield in OT plus a 15-2 drubbing of Westminster. New Jersey native Paul Rasimowicz, a PG bound for Cornell, has been a huge boost at the face-off X. Luckily for TP, their next three challenges (Avon Old Farms, Choate and Brunswick) are all at home.
6. Taft (Conn.), 9-3
The Rhinos have exceeded expectations so far in 2016 despite losing PG Justin Meichner (Georgetown) for the season. Their biggest wins are over Lawrenceville and Westminster, while a tough 10-8 setback to Choate last week hurts them. Taft has a tough schedule the rest of the way, playing Salisbury and Avon at home, among others.
7. Avon Old Farms (Conn.), 8-1
This is a team likely a lot better than the ranking indicates, however it’s hard to tell since their schedule is so backloaded, so we’ll learn a lot about the Winged Beavers in their next two games and beyond. To date, Avon’s two best wins are over Choate and Berkshire. The loss to a struggling Westy squad holds them back for the time being.
8. Hun (N.J.), 9-4
Emerging as a national power last season, the Raiders have been up-and-down in their 2016 campaign, clinching some big victories but also suffering some strange upset losses. With a daunting schedule and a spot in the Inter-Ac Challenge later this month, MV Whitlow’s program can climb back up this list.
9. Berkshire (Mass.), 7-3
The Bears are undoubtedly the team most difficult to figure out, as they have wins over Salisbury and Trinity-Pawling but losses by 10+ goals to both Deerfield and sub-.500 Loomis Chaffee. For whatever reason, Berkshire will play games on back-to-back days, hosting Taft on Friday before traveling to Choate on Saturday.
10. Westminster (Conn.), 4-4
Peter Newman’s Martlets had a lot of positive buzz leading up to the season but have struggled, dropping four of their first five before knocking off Avon. There’s plenty of talent on the roster, they’ll just need to improve chemistry as well as the face-off situation going forward. Westy will play at Brunswick this weekend and will host Berkshire on Tuesday.
Choate (Conn.), 4-4
Lawrenceville (N.J.), 11-8
New Hampton (N.H.), 10-0