The final weekend of the November circuit is an important one, as colleges get one final look at recruits before the college season begins late in the winter. Though there were a plethora of competitive events throughout the Northeast, I made my way to Farmingdale State on Long Island two weekends ago to hit the NLF Individual Showcase, LI Fall Classic (which took place both days) and Sunday’s NLF Team Showcase. Here’s who caught my eye.
Darian Cook ’18, A, Avon Old Farms (Conn.) / Eclipse
Recently re-classing after leaving Joel Barlow HS, the crafty lefty has built himself a nice reputation throughout the fall with his two-handed prowess, explosive first step and general comfort around the cage. He changes directions really well at X to lose his man, but when opposing defensemen can keep up, Cook is great at fending off body and stick checks to get to the rack. Though he’s listed as a verbal to UMass, the Minutemen may have to fight with the big boys’ attempt to steal away his commitment.
Aidan Danenza ’20, M, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) / Team 91
Tyler Cordes ’20, M, Connetquot (N.Y.) / Team 91
Andrew McAdorey ’20, FO/M, Our Lady of Hamptons (N.Y.) / Team 91
Though it would have been easy to highlight one of Crush’s seven early commits, these three middies deserve recognition for what they bring to the table. McAdorey is the most established of the three, dazzling with his ability to win the face-off with rapid hand speed and acting as the catalyst for a well executed fast break. Danenza and Cordes, meanwhile, also turned heads for their versatility and playmaking ability. A fundamentally sound athlete who missed much of the summer, Danenza showcased a high IQ, strong outside shot and the ability to find the open man. Cordes may get overlooked for his lack of size but is a consistent, well-rounded middie who just makes the right play every time. I’d expect high profile commitments to come in the not so distant future.
Zack Nelson ’18, A, Allentown Central Catholic (Pa.) / Big 4 HHH
There’s a lot of Division I talent on the Big 4 roster, but Nelson stood out as one of the headliners in the 1.5 games I watched them. Bound for Air Force, Nelson is a skilled head-up dodger who changed hands seamlessly, moving deftly with elusiveness and a nose for the goal. I liked his smooth release and ability to assert himself, often beating his man off the dodge from the corners of the offensive zone for a goal.
Blake Brookes ’20, D, Belmont Hill (Mass.) / Laxachusetts
Every bit of 6’4 and 200 pounds, the Hopkins-bound athlete has a frame that gives the impression that he could play either college lacrosse or Big 10 football right now. Another great quality about him is his upside – Brookes’ primary spring sport was baseball until a year or two ago – so it will be fun to watch his skill set continue to grow. Against Leading Edge late in the day, he was so imposing and impactful that it eventually got to the point where nobody wanted to go near him. He slid hard, got the ball off the ground smoothly and frequently helped trigger transition in the clearing game.
Danny Riley ’17, M, Smithtown West (N.Y.)
Riley was undoubtedly one of the biggest standouts while watching game film of Long Island publics last spring, and he looks to have taken another step forward. To put it simply, he gets to the spots with regularity, creating separation with a split dodge or rollback and burying well-placed shots. Defenses had a hard time stopping him when I watched Smithtown Blue, though there were a number of other impressive offensive talents on that squad. Committed to Delaware, last I heard Riley had yet to sign a NLI with the Blue Hens.
George Pike ’18, M, Avon Old Farms (Conn.) / West Coast Starz
This was my first time evaluating Pike, but it became more than apparent why Maryland took the Northern California native’s commitment a year or so ago. He’s a deer between the restraining lines, hustling both ways and getting in the hole to play gritty lockdown D. Beyond that, Pike gobbled up groundballs off the wings and was capable of creating offense when appropriate. The Terps are known for strong midfield defense and it appears as though they’ll have another standout SSDM in two years, especially as he grows his game during the last two years of his high school career in the challenging New England prep leagues.
Tyler Sandoval ’19, F/O, Chaminade (N.Y.) / LI Express
Much has been written about the abundance of talented face-off men in the classes of 2019 and 2020, many training with the Face-Off Academy. Sandoval, who verballed to Princeton’s admissions process back in the spring, has always been a standout recruit but appeared bigger, quicker and stronger at the X on Sunday. He won the lion’s share of his clamps and most notably, was outstanding with the ball. Though sophomores seldom play varsity for the Flyers, look for the Garden City product to have an impact at Chaminade over the next few seasons.
Christopher Clintock ’18, M, Watchung Hills (N.J.) / 2 Knights
I had the opportunity to watch New Jersey-based club 2 Knights Sentry and came away impressed with much of their uncommitted and committed upperclass talent vs. West Coast Starz ’19s. The St. Joseph’s commit was particularly strong with his footwork – allowing him to beat shorties and longsticks alike off the dodge – as well as his shooting prowess and ability to lead the man-up unit. Though he forced a few passes here and there, Clintock’s vision stood out as he paced the O with unselfish play and slick looks.
OTHERS WHO IMPRESSED
Kevin Pimental ’19, A, Chaminade (N.Y.) / LI Express
Patrick Ciquera ’20, A, Staples (Conn.) / Eclipse
Jake Wornow ’18, M, Westfield (N.J.) / Leading Edge – Yale
Holden Evans ’19, A, Trabuco Hills (Calif.) / West Coast Starz
Corson Kealey ’17, A, Everest Academy (Ont.) – Robert Morris
Ryan Essensa ’20, M, St. Michael’s (Ont.) / Edge
Connell Kumar ’20, A, Leading Edge / Eclipse
Justin Tkachuk ’17, M/FO, Everest Academy (Ont.) – Hartford
Max Manyak ’20, M, Oak Park (Calif.) / West Coast Starz
Nick Rossi ’20, A, Iona Prep (N.Y.) Express North
CJ Kirst ’20, A, Delbarton (N.J.) / Leading Edge
Max Beauchamp ’20, M, La Salle Academy (R.I.) / Laxachusetts
Chase LaDrido ’20, M, Bishop’s (Calif.) / West Coast Starz – Hopkins
Conor McDonough ’20, A, Penn Charter (Pa.) / Big 4 HHH