Rounding out RR’s recruiting coverage for the calendar year, I was in Vegas two weekends ago for Adrenaline’s Blackjack Classic, attending both days for the second year in a row. Just like the upcoming Challenge event in January (arguably ADRLN’s premiere tournament), this particular event drew a wide variety of the top satellite teams from all over the West. In a new wrinkle, Friday evening saw several dozen players gather for the Las Vegas Prospect Day, which attracted Division I coaches to the staff to instruct and evaluate the young talent before the big tournament kicked off. Here’s who caught my eye throughout the weekend.
Colby Moore ’18, D, Denver Elite / Grandview (Colo.)
Part of an excellent class of committed juniors for the Denver Pioneers, Moore possesses a sturdy, low to the ground frame with a skill set that is spearheaded by outstanding position defense and footwork. An asset in scrum situations and the clearing game, his hockey background is apparent with the way he’s able to get the ball off the ground and upfield. Definitely a nice building block in a few years for defensive guru Bill Tierney.
Holden Evans ’19, A, RC / Trabuco Hills (Calif.)
Evans is certainly a “stock rising” type of uncommitted sophomore after the fall that he put together. Though needing to add some weight in order to get the college looks he deserves, he’s an impressive quarterback able to craftily find space off-ball for finishes, distribute the ball effectively or turn the corner well. Evans was awesome in transition but more than anything, he was absolutely relentless in the riding game.
Luke Gianni ’17, FO/M, Movin’ Up / Coronado (Nev.)
Though considered undersized, Gianni was off the charts all weekend for a very talented Movin’ Up program that consisted entirely of Jason Griggs’ Coronado HS squad. From what I saw, he barely lost at the X, reacting remarkably quick to the whistle with his hand speed and scrappy attitude. After the win, he could bring it offensively and could even stay on the field, demonstrating pretty split dodges and shots on the run.
Sam Dracobly ’19, A, Seattle Starz / O’Dea (Wash.)
An explosive dodger who routinely created separation with his dodges, Dracobly has some influence in his game from his high school coach Drew Snider, a MLL standout for the Outlaws. Graduating in 2018 with tentative plans to PG, the young jitterbug was a tough cover for opposing defenders, scoring one of Sunday’s most impressive goals with a quick rollback and nasty shot around his man and into the top corner.
Nate McPeak ’17, G, SD United / Eastlake (Calif.)
Committing to ‘Cuse within a month of signing week, McPeak’s situation is a fantastic example for parents and kids discouraged by the early recruiting trend: have patience, continue to work your tail off to get better and then you never know what can happen. With that said, McPeak’s on-field product is very strong. He’s a keeper who fills up a ton of the cage, showcases strong mechanics & angle play possesses has quick hands. Can even push it upfield, scoring an impressive goal during a clear.
Chris Belcher ’17, LSM, Utah Chaos / Alta (Ut.)
Belcher first caught my attention a year ago at the same event and has since thrived at the Under Armour Underclass tourney with the West squad, ultimately committing to Division I hopeful University of Utah. Not much has changed in that he’s still one of the most impactful poles around, throwing surgical checks to dislodge the ball and showing off an impressive handle to elude opponents. Belcher was able to bump down low to close defense, but is certainly most effective between the lines and covering top midfielders.
Shayne Grant ’18, M, RC / Torrey Pines (Calif.)
While he’s always shown to be a strong midfielder in previous evaluations, Grant was off the charts last weekend in Vegas, acting as the offense’s top catalyst during RC’s run to a championship. He showed outstanding range pulling shots from deep with either hand, but also used effective dodges to get by his man at will and finish shots closer to the cage. Currently committed to Richmond, Grant is strong between the lines and seems to be hitting his stride athletically, giving the impression that he could have a breakout season for the Falcons.
Tucker Dordevic ’17, A/M, Rhino / Edison (Ore.)
Ranked as the 17th player in the class, it’s hard to ignore an offensive skill set as electric like Dordevic’s. Switching from Delaware to Syracuse 11 months ago, he’s quick as a hiccup with the ball in his stick and often made it look easy as he darted through defenses with impressive scores in close and nasty time & room finishes. I’d like to see him develop his ability to deal with double teams and his passing game before he suits up for the Orange, but what stands out is how he has gotten better and better each time I’ve seen him.
OTHERS WHO IMPRESSED
Oscar Hertz ’19, D, RC Carolina / Bishop’s (Calif.)
Reed Babcock ’19, A, Denver Elite / Regis Jesuit (Colo.) – Denver
Andrew Beacham ’17, M, San Diego United / La Costa Canyon (Calif.) – Towson
Blake Erlbeck ’20, A, RC Carolina / Torrey Pines (Calif.)
Aldrich Cheng ’17, M, Movin’ Up / Coronado (Nev.)
Nick Williams ’18, A, Denver Elite / Conifer (Colo.) – Hofstra
Dar Sleeper ’17, M, Seattle Starz / Kennedy Catholic (Wash.) – Michigan
Andrew Bell ’19, D, San Diego United / Coronado (Nev.)
Joshua James ’18, M, Denver Elite / Palmer (Colo.) – Towson
Sean Sieler ’19, D, San Diego United / Rancho Bernardo (Calif.)
Blake Gross ’17, A/M, Movin’ Up / Coronado (Nev.) – Westminster
Paden Stokes ’18, M, Utah LC / Logan (Ut.)
Joe Walsh ’19, G, San Diego United / Coronado Calif.)
Stuart MacDonald ’18, M, Seattle Starz / Bothell (Wash.)
August Sally ’19, M, Denver Elite / Denver East (Colo.)
Matthew Manfredi ’17, M, Force / Faith Lutheran (Nev.) – Cleveland State
Alex Pistorius ’19, A, RC Silver / Torrey Pines (Calif.)
Jake Hall ’19, M, Denver Elite / Arapahoe (Colo.)
Ryan Thompson ’18, D, Chaos / Southlake Carroll (Tex.)