Like many players in the Class of 2019, Skaneateles (N.Y.) middie Patrick Hackler had a good sense of where he wanted to play college lacrosse shortly before the new recruiting rules were put in place.
Spending the weekend at Yale for a prospect day in mid-February cemented his interest, making them his top choice heading into a sophomore season during which Hackler exploded for 65 goals and 28 assists. After a strong summer and a busy September, the Orange Crush club standout pledged to the Bulldogs shortly following an in-home visit from the entire Yale staff.
In the end, they beat out a pair of Ivy League foes in addition to Army and Navy, who held the added benefit of being able to contact juniors starting July 1st per service academy regulations.
— Ty Xanders (@tyxanders) September 30, 2017
Several factors attracted the 6’1, 190-pound junior to the three-time defending Ivy League Tournament champions.
“Obviously it’s hard to beat the academics, plus the program’s recent success says so much,” Hackler said in a recent phone interview. “Coach [Andy] Shay has a love for Section III [Syracuse area] guys and that was intriguing to me. When I went to practice, it was fast-paced with music blasting. Everyone was just working really hard but loved what they were doing while grinding towards that ultimate goal of a national championship.”
The Bulldogs love blue-collar, multi-sport athletes and he’s just that. Hackler fits the profile of a Yale midfielder in many ways, possessing similarities to junior John Daniggelis, a former No. 53 recruit in the Class of 2015.
A strong and scrappy athlete, Hackler gets the job done at the face-off X at the high school level as more of a scrapper than a technician. When it comes to creating his own shot, he loves to roll back to get his hands free, getting it out of his stick in a hurry with velocity. He’s excellent on defense and between the lines as an old school, do-it-all middie who collected All-League honors and finished 5th goals in Section III.
Right now, Hackler is tearing it up on the gridiron in his second year as the Lakers’ starting quarterback, leading them to a 6-1 record so far. He completed all 19 of his passes (six for touchdowns) in an early season win over Jordan-Elbridge, along with six total TD’s in a 54-6 dismantling of Hannibal.
With that said, it wouldn’t be a shock to eventually see Hackler get Division I attention in football as well, though it will be hard to pry him away from his spring sport.
“My first love is definitely lacrosse,” Hackler said. “With football going so well so far, I may be interested but the academic opportunity that Yale presents is unlike any other.”
With Skaneateles (pronounced “skinny atlas”, because I know you’re asking) taking its football seriously, Hackler had a particularly busy summer balancing the two sports. He was able to attend the Battle of Baltimore, SweetLax Invitational and the Liberty Bell Challenge with Orange Crush, as well as a NLF event on Long Island with Ric Beardsley’s Upstate LC squad.
Next month, however, he’d surely prefer not to be playing much lacrosse. Football state championships are in Syracuse’s Carrier Dome two days after Thanksgiving, so the playoffs would obviously trump November tournaments.
Around a year ago, Hackler’s only significant lacrosse interest came from Army after the 2016 fall circuit. He improved tremendously in a short time and clearly gained confidence from such a prolific sophomore season, pointing out that the new rules helped him take his time and find the best fit.
With his knack for hard work, drive to improve and gritty playmaking ability, there’s no doubt that the Yale staff can’t wait to get Hackler on campus in New Haven.