Becoming a widely attended event over the last few years, the NLF held their annual play day on Sunday, also welcoming the NH Tomahawks and Looney’s as guests. Despite it being an absolutely loaded recruiting weekend locally, college coaches attended in droves to get a jump on the Class of 2020.
In the end, SweetLax, Denver Elite, Laxachusetts, Looney’s and Leading Edge finished the day undefeated. I was there for all of the action on Sunday and put together a list of players that impressed.
TJ Haley, A, St. John’s (D.C.) / Madlax
After leading the Cadets in points on the way to a WCAC Championship, there was a lot of hype surrounding the uncommitted Haley. On Sunday, however, he backed it up with a strong campaign in front of a number of top college coaches. Haley may not blow by you, but he’s seemingly at the end of nearly every play. On one occasion, he snagged an interception in the riding game that ultimately led to a Madlax goal. In general, he turned the corner impeccably and made smart decisions, constantly warranting attention from top defenders.
Sean Cameron ’20, M, Bishop Guertin (N.H.) / NH Tomahawks
There’s always much to be said about a coach’s son, as Cameron is the younger said of former Lehigh All-American and Tomahawks director Chris Cameron. His lacrosse IQ obviously stands out, on top of being an athletic middie who gets to the right spots. On one instance I watched him squeeze a shot near pipe from no man’s land, so he clearly has the confidence. Committed to Maryland, Cameron is strong with either hand and knows exactly when to defer to his teammates.
Dane Swanson, M, McDonogh (Md.) / Crabs
Swanson, a legacy at the Naval Academy, is another player that is consistently excellent. As I’ve said before, his size and athleticism draw your eyes to him initially, then he’s just always out there putting the ball in the back of the net. An absolute horse, he has awesome hands and wrists, allowing him to unleash hard and well-placed shots just about wherever he wanted to. He has terrific range on his shot and even made things happen off the invert, a relatively new wrinkle in his game.
Eric Malever, A, Woodward Academy (Ga.) / LB3 Thunder
To give you a better idea of his prowess, one notable recruiting coordinator remarked that Malever was arguably the best player in attendance. That’s not farfetched either, as the Terp commit was lights out, good for several points each time that he took the field. He’s bulked up a good deal, pairing that with the kind of change of direction and burst that you would want from a ball carrier. The Georgia native is always getting to 5×5 and scores in a number of ways (and often with flair), which visibly frustrated defensemen and goalies alike.
Michael Lizzio, M, St. Andrew’s (Fla.) / Looney’s
Watching Lizzio, you absolutely understand why Carolina took him before he entered high school, and not just because he’s a good-looking athlete. On Sunday, Lizzio was often spectacular, cruising down the alleys and stinging a plethora of shots against top longsticks. Of course, there are aspects that he could clean up, but overall, he hustles on both ends of the field, plays tough defense and is a constant threat with the ball in his stick or without it.
Miles Botkiss, A/M, Torrey Pines (Calif.) / West Coast Starz
Botkiss was able to thrive while operating as an X attackman, also running out of the box from time to time as a midfield initiator. Wherever he was lined up, he showed well as an ambidextrous and savvy playmaker, often making high school teammate Blake Erlbeck the beneficiary. I haven’t watched Botkiss (the younger brother of Beau, a Harvard standout) a ton but he certainly gets better each time.
Jakson Raposo, M, St. Michael’s (Ont.) / Edge
With stick work that’s extremely dialed in, the Hopkins commit had his way with opposing defenses on Sunday, dodging with energy and with his head always up. Though he’s not big by any stretch, he embraces contact and is a threat from the wings or from the top of the box, simply willing his way to the cage time after time. He has a nasty shot and is generally smooth with all of his motions, knowing exactly when to pull up for his shot or draw and dump.
Josh Carlson, A, Arapahoe (Colo.) / Denver Elite
Running the show from X for Denver Elite (3-0), Carlson was talked about a ton for his ability to finish with relative ease. His hands are some of the best seen in the ’20 class, ultimately leading him to a really high shooting percentage on the day. He shook off any stick or body checks and handled himself well, even when teams picked up on what he could do and threw everything him. No one could slow down “the Colorado kid with the long hair” on Sunday.
Joey Quinn, G, Palos Verdes (Calif.) / Legends West
Helped by an athletic defense, Quinn’s shot-stopping ability was a huge reason why Legends found some success on Sunday. While undersized, he was fearless and locked in in between the pipes, even making a number of excellent plays outside of his crease. IT seemed like there’d be a play where the opponent would surely score, but sure enough Quinn jumped at the ball for a tough point-blank save. Look for Quinn to start to get gain confidence and attention after the weekend that he had.
Casey McDermott ’20, A, Brighton (N.Y.) / SweetLax
Extraordinarily poised for his age, McDermott is another member of Hopkins’ excellent 2020 class thus far, though much can change. McDermott did whatever he could do to boost his team, making a plethora of head-turning plays in the riding game, in transition or on the doorstep. He’s just an excellent all-around lacrosse player from top to bottom without any glaring weakness, at least from what I’ve seen so far.
Frankie Hapney, LSM, St. Paul’s (Md.) / Crabs – Michigan
Billy Spilman, A, Gilman (Md.) / Crabs
Ben Lever, D, Middle Creek (N.C.) / Madlax
George Hodgson, D, St. Christopher’s (Va.) / Madlax
Connor McDonough, A, Penn Charter (Pa.) / Big 4 HHH
Ben Hull, A, Kennesaw Mountain (Ga.) / SweetLax – Michigan
Bobby Gavin, G, Torrey Pines (Calif.) / West Coast Starz
Seth Higgins, M, Gerstell Academy (Md.) / Looney’s
Justin Wietfeldt, M, New Canaan (Conn.) / Eclipse
Danny Mallee, A, La Salle (Pa.) / Big 4 HHH
Jack Walshe, M, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) / LI Express
Batts Parker, LSM/D, Culver (Ind.) / SweetLax
Quinn Richards, G, Belmont Hill (Mass.) / Laxachusetts
Colin Dobrosky, A, Hunterdon Central (N.J.) / Leading Edge
Brendan Grimes, A, Boys’ Latin (Md.) / Looney’s – Ohio State
Logan Tucker, LSM, Millcreek (Ga.) / LB3 Thunder
Brad Rider, A, Xavier (Conn.) / Eclipse
Fulton Bayman, A, Lovett (Ga.) / LB3 Thunder
Blade Cintron, D, St. Ignatius (Oh.) / West Coast Starz
Rocco DiChiara, D, Brunswick (Conn.) / Prime Time
Graham Blake ’19/PG, A, Marin Catholic (Calif.) / LB3 Thunder
Sam Ward, A, Hingham (Mass.) / Laxachusetts
Liam Fairback, M, Iona Prep (N.Y.) / LI Express
Michael Ricciardi, M, Mendham (N.J.) / Leading Edge
Carter Parlette, M, Ponte Vedra (Fla.) / SweetLax – Syracuse
Connell Kumar, A/M, Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) / Leading Edge
James McIntyre, M, Chaparral (Colo.) / Denver Elite
Ricky Amorim, D, Academy of the New Church (Pa.) / Big 4 HHH – Providence
Marquez White, M, Poway (Calif.) / Legends West – Syracuse