Recruiting Mailbag, 9/27: Maryland’s Recent Commits, Ivy League Verbiage And The Importance of Showcases

Believe it or not, it’s a happening time in the recruiting world. It’s been a month or so since the inaugural September 1st contact date for 2019’s and we’re just a few short weeks from the beginning of the November tournament circuit. Commitments, de-commitments and notable campus visits are occurring left and right as things heat up a few short weeks from 2018’s signing National Letters of Intent. 

On the rankings side, the Top 100 juniors and Top 100 seniors were recently released along with the four and five-stars in both graduation classes. In a new wrinkle, I’ll be adding additional four-star recruits from outside the anointed Top 100, and a handful of players inside the rankings may even earn a coveted fifth star.

As we get ready for the fall circuit, content will be cranked up and a few new additions will come into place. Most recently, de-commitments have been so frequent that a page was just created to submit them. Of course, you can send in commitments at this page, and check out the updated list of 2018 and 2019 commitments at the links.

To submit a question for the new mailbag feature, send me an e-mail at You can remain anonymous (just provide the state where you live & your age), list your initials or first name.

Has John Tillman received any notable commits since winning the national championship? -Richard in Maryland

Championships always boost a program’s recruiting profile, but the rules obviously prohibit the Terps from contacting underclassmen so they’ve gone hard at boosting the ’18 class, which I’ll get into more in the next paragraph. It’s really important to consider the fact that they’ve already accepted a ton of commitments over the past few years, now up to 16 total Class of 2019 commitments after securing the services of No. 72 junior Michael Mines, an athletic and incredibly skilled two-way middie from San Diego. Maryland now has a whopping 10 players from the Top 100 junior rankings alone, so with all of that talent currently verballed it’s really just a matter of John Tillman’s staff showing them love to keep them on board and away from the high academic college programs out there. Despite doing incredibly well both in the NCAA Tournament and on the recruiting trail, a handful of Terp commits end up elsewhere (often Ivy League programs), which is inevitable when you take large recruiting classes each year.

The biggest impact has been with rising seniors in the 2018 class, nabbing three verbals since the national championship in middies John Geppert (Landon, Md.) and Will Plansky (St. Sebastian’s, Mass.) along with face-off man and No. 70 senior Nick Rowlett (Robinson, Va.) earlier this week. The trio previously made verbals to Bucknell, Virginia and Lafayette, respectively, deciding to take their talents elsewhere in the long run. Geppert is a horse who broke out as a junior and has some similarities to current hardshell Connor Kelly, while Rowlett is an important piece who should be impactful once Austin Henningsen graduates in 2019. Regarding Plansky, it’s harder to say due to an injury that caused him to miss reps in the summer, but he was a former Dom Starsia recruit who could see minutes on either side of the ball.

In addition, the Terps have had longtime 2018 commits instead opt for Brown, UMBC and Providence this summer, bringing Maryland’s 2018 recruiting class to a dozen in total. They’re still without a goalie, which may not matter if they decide to redshirt freshman keeper Drew Morris, a recruit from Connecticut public power New Canaan. Morris was arguably the most impressive stopper during the Under Armour All-American Game, but the Terps still have experience and talent with returning starter Dan Morris (no relation) for one final season.

With the new rule changes regarding contact with prospective student-athletes, can you list the reasons why showcases for young athletes (2022 and 2021’s) are important? -S. in North Carolina

It goes without saying that individual showcases are great opportunities for all parties involved. College coaches line the fields in droves to evaluate dozens of players in one spot in just a short time, which is incredibly advantageous considering recruiting resources are limited during the spring season. Potential recruits get to see how they stack up against their peers, plus it’s traditionally been a great opportunity to build relationships.

Under these new rules, showcases for 8th graders, freshmen and sophomores didn’t completely lose meaning, as some people have implicated. They’re still important to go to (though perhaps not as much as before), especially events that have a strong instructional/teaching component. Underclassmen should pick at least one or two of these a summer to measure themselves against a large volume of players, but it’s unnecessary to focus on showcase environments when the focus should be developing on your own and with your club teams. Showcases for rising high school freshmen (and younger players) lack scouts on the sidelines and tend to be heavily instructional, whereas the new rules really forced clubs to prepare their kids to be recruited before they hit high school.

I see players committing to the “Ivy League recruiting process” – how is that different from committing to a specific Ivy League school? -Jonathan in California

When you’re on Twitter and you see a verbal to “committed to the Ivy League process”, that’s essentially letting you know that a player has committed to Harvard or Yale. In the past, other Ivies have preferred to use that language when players commit and want to have the media announce it. At the moment, those two schools liked to use that language with underclass commits (with Harvard being more strict), though that tag usually comes off around junior year or so.

As you’d probably imagine, committing to an Ivy League program comes with a lot of academic expectations and a rigorous application process, though that’s no different from most Division I schools. There aren’t any stats to back it up, but each year sees a handful of Ivy League commits fall short of getting accepted. Saying that a player committed to the “Ivy League process” or “admissions process at an Ivy League” is a method of keeping the admissions offices happy and protecting the committed student-athletes in a sense. 

Under the new rules, it will be interesting to see if, when and how the language changes. Between Harvard and Yale, the archrivals have combined for nine recruits but none after September 1st, so we haven’t had a test run yet.


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