Several of the nation’s best 2020 teams took to the fields of Boys’ Latin last Sunday to display their talents on November’s first recruiting weekend. Nearly every college program going after freshmen and sophomore commitments made it a point to make a stop at BL to evaluate ’20s, an impressive group despite being just two months into high school.
Though the first weekend of the fall recruiting circuit can be sloppy (whether due to fall sports or rustiness since the summer), Sunday’s play definitely turned a lot of heads to give evaluators a better understanding of the best recruits in North America. Have a look at below at some of the freshmen who shined.
Brennan McBride, A, Haverford (Pa.) / Mesa Fresh
The brother of Princeton captain Gavin McBride, I was really impressed with this young playmaker, someone who consistently showed the ability to make things happen with either hand. It’s clear that he’s been around the game a ton over the years (as well as the wall), as McBride knew where to be and what to do both off-ball and while carrying. He used his body to lean into his man when appropriate but could also beat his man with crafty stick work and deceptive quickness.
Billy Spilman, A/M, Gilman (Md.) / Baltimore Crabs
Spilman had one of the better Sunday campaigns among the uncommitted offensive talent in attendance, consistently providing the Crabs with a spark. Armed with a powerful overhand shot that he gets off in a hurry, his size (somewhere around 6’2, 180) would already work in Division I. He was comfortable dodging from just about anywhere and has a confident stroke, pumping in three goals in the early game against HHH.
Isaac Tallino, M, Natick (Mass.) / Laxachusetts
There’s always one middie to turn heads and take over the first recruiting weekend. During previous evaluations of Tallino before he entered Natick HS (Doug Flutie’s old stomping grounds), I saw flashes of what he could bring to the table, but not consistency. On Sunday, he was particularly brilliant, showing tremendous wiggle in his split dodges to lose his man on his way to hard and accurate shots on the run. A lot of Top 20 schools took notice, so it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see Tallino go off the board in the near future.
David Anderson, A, Mimico (Ont.) / Edge
Jakson Raposo, M, St. Michael’s (Ont.) / Edge
The next crop of Ontario’s 2020 talent was pretty electric to evaluate, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Anderson turned a lot of heads as an uncommitted, box-influenced shooter who demonstrated a nose for the goal, often utilizing a toe-drag or a face dodge before finishing his shots with a nasty release. He scored a ton of goals throughout the weekend and got himself on a lot of schools’ radars. Leading the way up top, Hopkins-bound Raposo was agile and saw the field impeccably, dodging with his head up and exploiting both shorties and longsticks alike. Beyond that, he ran through checks and was generally tough as nails, playing Sunday with fractures in his hand suffered the previous day. A number of other Edge recruits stood out and will be fun to watch going forward.
Finlay MacKnight, A, Episcopal (Va.) / Madlax
Jack Lee, M, Episcopal (Va.) / Madlax
Lee jumped off the page initially with prototypical size and backed that up with impressive athleticism with a great shot on the run to boot. He was tough to stop in the open field and had a few excellent assists in transition. MacKnight, meanwhile, stood out with awesome hands and a confident dodging style that allowed him to finish appropriately. He’ll need to add some size to his frame going forward but overall, MacKnight seemed to provide Madlax with a big play when the ball was in his stick.
Gable Braun ’20, F/O, McDonogh (Md.) / Looney’s
Nathan Laliberte ’20, F/O, Pinkerton Academy (N.H.) / NH Tomahawks
James Ball ’20, F/O, Chaminade (N.Y.) / LI Express
To put it simply, the increased level of face-off training has created a pretty unbelievable youth movement of draw-takers, and these three lead the way towards the top of the Class of 2020. Committed to UNC, Bryant and Navy, respectively, the aforementioned face-off men were absolutely dominant when it came to going forward with possession.
Braun was one of the premier names during the summer circuit after winning 252 of 310 as an 8th grader on the St. Andrew’s (Fla.) varsity as an 8th grader, subsequently committing to the Tar Heels in June. On Sunday, he continued to thrive and was assertive after winning the draw, netting two first quarter goals off the face-off in the game that I watched. Elsewhere, Laliberte and Ball were both outstanding in the more traditional sense, winning the ball with ease and finding the open man without trying to do too much. Between these three and a few other top freshman face-off guys that are yet to be evaluated, it will be fun to watch this class beat each other up over the next four years.
OTHERS WHO IMPRESSED
Jack Cooleen, D, Lawrenceville (N.J.) / Leading Edge
Cole Krauss, D, Delbarton (N.J.) / Leading Edge
Danny Mallee, A, La Salle (Pa.) / Big 4 HHH
Ben Lee, D, Episcopal (Va.) / Madlax
Carter Rice, M, Milton Academy (Mass.) / Laxachusetts
Alex Kristian, D, Century (Md.) / Looney’s
Chad Teresky, A, Pinkerton Academy (N.H.) / NH Tomahawks
Michael Minicus, A, Darien (Conn.) / Eclipse
Mikey Mauricio, A, Brunswick (Conn.) / Eclipse
Jonathan Peshko, M/FO, St. Michael’s (Ont.) / Edge – Hopkins
Ryan Essensa, M, Mimico (Ont.) / Edge
Jack Witherspoon, D, Gilman (Md.) / Crabs – UNC
Dane Swanson, M, McDonogh (Md.) / Crabs – Navy
Alex Moynihan, M, Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.) / LI Express – Cornell
Owen Boss, A, Worcester Academy (Mass.) / Laxachusetts
Michael Scharfenberger, G, Manhasset (N.Y.) / LI Express