Since its inception in 2006, the Under Armour All-American Underclassmen Tournament has become one of the most prestigious lacrosse events in the country. Engineered and operated by Corrigan Sports Enterprises, the UA Underclassmen Games consist of a tournament between eleven geographically based regional teams and a showcase of uncommitted players. The tournament is split into two divisions, Command, which consists of rising freshmen and sophomores and Highlight, which consists of rising juniors and seniors. Each year, hundreds of players try out to represent their respective regions. As a result, the tryouts have become a recruiting gold mine for college coaches.
So, it was no surprise to see the sidelines of Georgetown Prep (Bethesda, Md.) jam packed with recruiters Wednesday evening for this year’s Washington D.C. Regional Tryout. During the tryout, players were split into teams coached by top local high school coaches, who served as evaluators in the roster selection process. The teams played a series of showcase games before evaluators selected the top 44 players in each division. Then, both divisions played “call back” games which provided one final opportunity for evaluators to see the highest level of competition before picking the teams.
Last year, the D.C. Highlight Team got off to a shaky start, going 1-3 in round robin play; however, they were able to make adjustments and fought their way to a finals appearance, narrowly losing to Team New Jersey, 6-4. The D.C. Command Team was quite successful in their divisional play, finishing with a 3-1 record. But despite the hot start, they would eventually fall short to a loaded Baltimore squad (the eventual champs) in the semifinals. This year’s D.C. teams are bound to be stacked with talent as the greater Washington area has continued to produce some of the nation’s top recruits. Highlighted below are players who were the most impressive during the tryout. The actual rosters can be seen here.
By Reece Belcher
Bryson Shaw ‘19, M, Bullis School (Md.) / Crabs – Maryland
In Wednesday’s Highlight Division Top 44 game, no player was quite as impressive as the Terp commit. Blessed with blistering speed and an uncanny motor, Shaw seemed to never leave the field. Throughout the tryout, Shaw demonstrated his versatility, scoring goals in both transition and settled offense, playing tough defense, and essentially providing his team with a one-man clear. Shaw is verbally committed to the defending national champion Maryland Terrapins, but has recently began to receive scholarship offers from perennial football powerhouses (such as Wisconsin) and so his future remains unclear. But for now, Coach Tillman should be licking his chops as Shaw will be yet another addition to a stable full of thoroughbreds.
Ben Wayer ‘20, LSM, St. Stephen’s & Saint Agnes (Va.) / Blackwolf – Ohio State
After reaching its first NCAA Final Four in program history, it is safe to say that Ohio State lacrosse is on the rise. Coach Nick Myers has done a fantastic job in recruiting excellent players for his program and he has yet another one in the form of Ben Wayer. Standing 6’3, he is rangy with incredible reach on his checks. What was actually more impressive than his individual defense, however, was Wayer’s play in between the lines. Throughout the tryout Wayer wreaked havoc on faceoff wings and dominated open field groundballs, all the while being a vocal leader and orchestrating the clearing game for his defense.
Isaac Aronson ‘20, A, Bullis School (Md.) / Next Level
This was my first time watching Aronson play live and I was truly impressed. During the showcase games, Aronson demonstrated an ability to score goals in a variety of ways, using his size to either shoot around or leverage his way to the goal. What Aronson lacks in athleticism, he makes up for in vision and lacrosse IQ. In transition, Aronson was lethal as the point attackmen by both stroking corners on his step-down opportunities and dishing several pretty assists. After a very successful freshman campaign in which he scored 40 goals, Aronson is sure to be highly touted recruit over the next few years.
Connor Humiston ‘19, A, Georgetown Prep (Md.) / Crabs – Virginia
What jumps out when watching Humiston play is his ability to shoot the ball lights out from just about anywhere on the field. Besides his shot, the Little Hoya’s best skill is his off-ball work. Using his large frame and incredibly soft hands, Humiston is able to seemingly finish just about everything inside. When he heads to Charlottesville, Humiston is sure to be a perfect fit for Coach Tiffany’s high powered offense.
Billy Saffin ‘20, M, Paul VI (Va.) / Blackwolf
If I had one word to describe Saffin’s game, it would be electric. While he is slightly undersized, Saffin makes up for it with a lightning quick first step and a nasty split dodge. On Wednesday, he demonstrated his offensive capability by beating his man on nearly every dodge he took. Saffin culminated his impressive tryout by scoring a rocket of a stepdown in transition in the closing minutes of the Command Division Top 44 game.
Robert Schain ’19, A, Bullis School (Md.) / Madlax
With the graduation of Under Armour All-American and UNC-bound Alex Trippi, Schain will likely face the tall task of filling in as the quarterback of a very talented Bullis offense next spring. But if Wednesday was any indication, Bullis’ future looks quite bright as Schain was impressive throughout. What sets Schain apart from his peers is his ability to use both hands equally. In addition to this, the natural midfielder has an ankle-breaking first step, which makes him a matchup nightmare for opposing defenders.
Garrett Leadmon ‘18, M, DeMatha (Md.) / Navy
On Wednesday, no player looked more college ready than Garrett Leadmon. Eventually headed to the Naval Academy, Leadmon has the build of a Division 1 linebacker as well as an absolute cannon of a shot. The big lefty was dominant throughout the tryout, dodging hard and using his towering size to get shots off at will. Leadmon has clearly spent time working on his shooting stroke, as his technique is exquisite both on the run and in time and room situations.
Jimmy Rubino ‘18, D/LSM, Winston Churchill (Md.) / Blackwolf – Penn State
If you are a fan of offensive-minded longsticks, then you are going to love Jimmy Rubino. Rubino was a stand-out in the Highlight Divison Top 44 game, scooping ground-balls, causing turnovers, and netting a nice goal. He was a constant presence on faceoff wings and a trusted stick in the clearing game. While Rubino could afford to put on some muscle mass, he still has time to hit the weight room before arriving at Penn State in the fall of 2018.
Blake Rodgers ‘18, D, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.) / VLC – Johns Hopkins
Rodgers has flown under the radar since committing to Hopkins, but on Wednesday the future Blue Jay proved that he is both one of the most underrated and one of the most talented defensemen in the country. With his aggressive and physical style of defense, Rodgers is reminiscent of former Saint Stephen’s great and current UNC defenseman Joe Kenna. In the Top 44 game, Rodgers was tasked with guarding Recruiting Rundown’s top 2019 recruit in the country, Connor Shellenberger. Not only did Rodgers keep Shellenberger in check the entire game, he actually forced several caused turnovers and scooped multiple ground-balls. One of the most impressive players at the tryout, Rodgers is a recruit to keep an eye on.
Silas Newsome ’18, D, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.) / VLC – Lafayette
Spencer Alston ’18, LSM, South Lakes (Va.) / Madlax – Ohio State
Jack Myers ‘18, A, Gonzaga (D.C.) / Crabs – Harvard
Nick Rowlett ’18, FO/M, Robinson (Va.) / VLC – Lafayette
Michael Bath ’21, LSM, Gonzaga (D.C.) / Madlax
Connor Shellenberger ’19, A, St. Anne’s Belfield (Va.) / Madlax – Virginia
Chase MacCartee ’20, M, Georgetown Prep (Md.) / Next Level
Evan Park ’20, F/O, Riverside (Va.) / Blackwolf
Jonathan Bender ’19, A/M, Bullis (Md.) / Madlax
Drake Schaffner ‘18, D, Gonzaga (D.C.) / FCA Maryland, Blackwolf – Dartmouth