So much growth of the game around the country, of course, can be attributed to phenomenal coaching. Down South, it’s evident that they have plenty of raw talent hungry, but many need the instruction and guidance to take the next step. Enter Dixie 200.
For the third straight year, an army of college coaches made the trip south for a weekend of high-level instruction and games with dozens of players from Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Texas and Missouri. Attendees were treated to an epic lineup of college coaches to work with, as the drill and instruction aspect was stressed above actual game play.
The event by Nick and Pat Myers (from Ohio State and Penn, respectively) and run by the Tennessee-based No Excuse club program, who once again brought down some of the best minds in lacrosse to coach. Full-time representatives from Maryland, Loyola, Georgetown, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Penn State, Mercer, Bucknell and Furman made the trip in addition to several coaches from colleges around the South.
Here’s who caught my eye:
Buchanan Dunavant ’18, LSM/D, Memphis University School (Tenn.)
How is this kid uncommitted? Dunavant displayed tenacious on-ball defense all weekend in addition to being strong in defensive drills with Division I coaches. He possesses excellent footwork and positioning, flip-flopping between LSM and D seamlessly (I didn’t see him get beat all weekend), so it’s clear that he’s worked his tail off to boost his foot speed and off-ball prowess to where it is. Schools looking for a strong late pickup on the defensive end should take a hard look for Dunavant as they finish up recruiting 2018’s.
Edit: Dunavant verballed to Ohio State on Thursday night, choosing the Buckeyes after also visiting UNC, Richmond and Jacksonville.
Jack Politte ’19, M, Lafayette (Mo.)
There’s something to be said about a kid who participates in a playoff football game, drives five hours, arriving in Nashville at 3am but not skipping a beat all weekend. Though he may lack prototypical size, he makes up for it with an astonishing motor, hustle and all-around play. Politte was effective on the wings, in transition and playing defensive midfield, jamming ball carriers up top. When he put up points, it was usually on the go, clearing the ball himself and either taking it to the cage or finding the open man.
Batts Parker ’20, LSM/D, Culver (Ind.)
This Alabama product keeps taking his game higher and is reportedly expected to thrive in the spring after transferring to the Midwest prep powerhouse. Parker brings excellent wheels, picking the ball up at the top of the box and flying upfield in a hurry to boost his team. He racked up a ton of caused turnovers and GB’s throughout the two-day event, showing clear signs of improvement in his off-ball defense and stick skills. If I had to guess, I would imagine that he’ll get a good bit of love next year on September 1st.
Makay Hansen ’19, A, Highland Park (Tex.)
Routinely popping up at tournaments and showcases all over the country, Hansen is able to impress largely due to his high lacrosse IQ. He knows exactly what he’s doing off-ball with a strong understanding of where he needs to be in order to be successful. In addition, Hansen is crafty and consistent within eight yards of the cage, demonstrating soft, quick hands when finishing inside.
Jordan Celeslie ’20, M, St. John Vianney (Mo.)
It was no surprise to see Celeslie bring in 2020 co-MVP honors this weekend, as he was an All-State pick this past spring with 60 points in the St. Louis area. He’s a textbook midfielder who dodged to the middle of the field, often rolling back to his strong hand before getting off takes with an exceptionally snappy shot. When he dodged the alleys, Celeslie did a great job hiding the ball far back by his ear to give goalies trouble. I also liked his physicality, one-man clears and all-around two-way play.
Dylan Hoye ’20, LSM/D, Oak Mountain (Ala.)
While he’s listed as a pole, Hoye impressed this weekend by doing just about everything. Built like a linebacker (he’s also a football standout in Birmingham) at 6’0 and 170 pounds, he worked with both a six-foot pole and a shorty, frequently making his presence felt with jarring hits near the box. From what I hear, he’s a blue-collar worker who has improved tremendously, so it’s easy to love his upside if he sticks with lacrosse at the next level.
Ben DiMento ’20, A, Memphis University School (Tenn.)
A towering physical presence, DiMento once again put together a great weekend across the board. He was money with time and room, developing more range than a year ago, but also showed great vision at times as he shared the ball. There were instances where he tried to do too much, but he’d provide his team with so much that you’d almost live with it in a sense. I can see why he plays attack, but could also see him projecting at the midfield. Regardless, he’s a mid to high-level Division I prospect.
Parker Green ’19, G, Briarcrest (Tenn.)
Green was my favorite goalie at last year’s event and that didn’t change this time around. He was constantly robbing scorers, closing down angles and following the stick when left 1-on-1 to make big doorstep saves. He communicated well, gobbled up just about everything from 10 yards and beyond and hit the majority of his clearing passes. With several more big weekend campaigns, Green should be able to find himself a home.
10 OTHERS DESERVING OF A MENTION
Patrick Moore ’19, G, Briarwood Christian (Ala.)
Noah Mendoza ’20, D, Montgomery Bell Academy (Tenn.)
Will Greenman ’19, LSM/D, McCallie (Tenn.)
Jojo Fogarty ’19, M, Memphis University School (Tenn.)
Billy Weiss ’19, D, Memphis University School (Tenn.)
Tate Harran ’20, M, Walton (Ga.)
William Bowen ’19, A/M, Evangelical Christian (Tenn.)
Charlie Carse ’19, A, St. Louis University (Tenn.)
Collier Dobbs ’20, A, Vestavia (Ala.)
Jonathan Phillips ’20, LSM, Evangelical Christian (Tenn.)