It's that time of year again! Firing up the recruiting thread for the 2019 crop of new Buckeye recruits, and it is a doozy. The 2019 class may be the most talented recruiting class to ever come to Columbus, and it is LOADED with talent. Middies, attackmen, and poles galore. Good Lord, the poles. There is much to be excited about, which you'll be able to read here and follow along in the comments.
The Buckeyes brought in 16 players, with 1 5-star and 7 4-star recruits signing letters of intent yesterday. Only two Ohioans signed for the Buckeyes this year, a fact that is somewhat troubling given the talent found all over Ohio. For context, OSU signed 2 native Georgians this year. Hard to argue with the talent level that's been brought in, but it would behoove the staff to try and close the borders at least a little more. But I digress.
Let's get into the fun part. Here is a list and small breakdown of each 2019 Buckeye signee. I will embed highlights in the comments as I am able.
Elijah Black St Viator High School (IL)
Elijah Black is exactly the type of player Ohio State needs right now. His speed is really good, his quickness is next level. A 4 star middie, Black can scoot with the best of him. A football player in the fall at St. Viator in Chicago, you can see the RB come out when he's smoking a defender. He's does not have a ton of tricks, but Black has a hammer for a right-handed shot. He gets his whole body into it every time.
The Buckeyes need a player who can make an opposing defense rotate regularly, and Black really fits the bill. He could be a 2nd line middie with ease. It really helps that Elijah plays hard-nosed, physical D as well. He's a prototypical two-way middie, and should see time quickly.
James Cipolla Parkland High School (PA)
A 4 star recruit, Cipolla plays attack for a Parkland squad that just won its first state playoff game in 2018. The Clibanoffs and La Salle ended Parkland's season in brutal fashion, stifling Cipolla's team 6-3. Cipolla himself had 70 goals and 46 assists in 2018, earning conference MVP honors.
In terms of game, Cipolla is a flat out shooter. He's pretty much all lefty, but can score from just about anywhere. Cipolla has some quickness, but isn't an elite athlete. If he gets the shorty, he will use the player as a screen for a snap shot. Blessed with great vision, Cipolla can dish the ball to any point on the field, especially in transition. He will be a really good step-down shooter, but will most likely have to wait a bit to see the field.
Eli Ensor The McCallie School (TN)
Ensor is another 4-star middie who really can blow by defenders with his speed. Like Elijah Black and Carter Hilleary, Ensor is a player the Buckeyes lack. He's got one dodge, essentially just the left-to-right split, but Ensor is so quick he just leaves opponents in his wake. Ensor is almost entirely right-handed, but is tricky enough to make things happen when he gets into trouble. Watching him play, you can easily see Ensor blazing down the right alley and getting a defense to make mistakes. He's got the athleticism to see time on the field in 2020, but I don't know how much.
Sam Faber Haslett High School (TSUN)
Faber is one of two FOGOs in this class as OSU looks to build depth behind Inacio and Feliziani. He has some real talent, though is a pure FOGO on the field. Faber can score if given room off the draw, but cradles like he's got a pea on a butter knife. Lacking good speed or quickness, a lot of Faber's wins are defensive. Moving forward, Faber will have work to do to get on the field.
Gabe Galbraith Highland Park High (TX)
Galbraith is yet ANOTHER longpole defender in this class. OSU lost several poles after 2018, but the depth they're bringing in is pretty spectacular at this point. Galbraith is one of 4 LSM commits to sign with the Buckeyes, and is certainly among the most athletic.
Gabe has played football for Highland Park, and really has some solid athleticism for a pole, which will certainly help as an LSM. He's a gifted CT artist, leveraging every bit of his stick to put the ball on the ground. Galbraith can move with just about anyone, and is a very versatile option in the LSM rotation.
Andrew Guagenti Olentangy Liberty High School (OH)
Guagenti was a teammate of current Buckeye Johnny Wiseman in 2018, and is the only other Ohioan in this recruiting class. An LSM, Guagenti does great work off the faceoff, winning groundballs and causing havoc. He even faced off a bit as an LSM, giving his teammates a breather.
Defensively, Guagenti moves well laterally, matching up against offensive middies all over the field. He has a good set of takeaway checks, causing turnovers at opportune moments. Guagenti was 1st Team All-State, and the Position Player of the Year in Ohio. He should be a great addition to a loaded Buckeye LSM group.
Carter Hilleary St Francis De Sales High (OH)
One of only two Ohioans in the class, Carter Hilleary is a special athlete. He's a good WR for St. Francis in the fall, and his quickness is on full display every time he touches the ball. Primarily a lefty, Hilleary has a cannon to go with his quicks, making him dangerous all over the field.
Hilleary is a tremendous dodger, using his unique talents to really put pressure on opposing defenders. He will be a much needed piece for the Buckeyes going forward, as they've been missing exceptional dodgers for a while now.
James Hogan Ridgewood High School (NJ)
James Hogan is a FOGO, the other specialist the Buckeyes are taking in this class. Of the two, he's certainly got more accolades. An Under Armour All-American as a junior, Hogan provides a spark with his work at the faceoff X.
A moto grip FOGO, Hogan is capable of winning the draw to any point on the field. He will more often than not get a clean break moving forward, settimg up his team with a nice fast break opportunity. Hogan should provide quality depth behind Inacio moving forward.
Connor Mitchell Calvert Hall (MD)
Connor Mitchell is one of a set of twins who both play O middie, are both 4-star players, and both come put of Calvert Hall. You've read about the MIAA from Jake Snyder's profile, so I won't bore you. Connor had an injury-plagued junior season that saw him on the field in short bursts, and not until later in the year. He had a few points, but really didn't have much of an impact last season due to his leg problems. Connor will look to make his senior year a memorable one as Calvert Hall looks to take home another MIAA title.
Prior to last season, Connor made a name as a lefty dodger who could finish. Watching this summer's highlights, that hasn't changed. Connor has a solid build, and really physically overpowers many defenders who try to stop him cold. Connor will fight through stick checks to finish on the doorstep. As a middie or attackman, he'll be dangerous off the left side.
Grant Mitchell Calvert Hall (MD)
As mentioned above, Grant Mitchell is a twin dynamo for Cardinals of Calvert Hall. Grant is a 1st line O middie, and helped propel CH to an MIAA title in 2018. Grant's the #18 player in this class, and will provide some instant pizzazz to a Buckeye midfield lacking in difference makers to this point.
Grant can pretty much do it all. A righty, unlike his brother Connor, Grant is just a freight train on dodges. He can into a spin cycle if need be, but at 6'2", 205, it's just more efficient to go north-south. Once Grant gets moving, very few can get him to stop. Calvert likes to use him for "power" lacrosse, dodging hard to the cage from midfield in a 1-4-1, giving him room to get his hands free and bury a shot. Grant is the highest-rated recruit in the Buckeye class, and should be on the field from day one.
Garrett Nilsen St Marys High School (MD)
Garrett Nilsen is your stereotypical crafty lefty. He's a poacher in front of goal, doing the vast majority of damage within ten yards, and a lot right on the crease. He's a solid, not great, dodger from X, where he can feed or score himself.
At no point will you confuse Nilsen with a burner, but he can shoot well on the move. With his feet set, Nilsen can pick out pretty much any corner and hit it. Playing for St. Mary's in the MIAA, Nilsen ran into Snyder and the Mitchell twins a lot, with their final battles looming this spring. Nilsen, by virtue of the crazy competition he plays against, has a better than average shot of seeing the field early.
Mitchell Pehlke Riverside High School (VA)
Pehlke is a 5'10" attackman from Virginia. He played club ball with the Calvert Hall commits in this class on a LOADED FCA team. Only one of his teammates on that club team is NOT committed to a D1 program. Pehlke himself is a bit of a character. He's got a YouTube channel and merch for sale. *old man voice* Damn millennials...get off my lawn!
As a lacrosse player, Pehlke is what you want to see from an attackman. He's got a wicked right-handed shot. He'll get north-south in a hurry when initiating from X or up top. Pehlke really likes the sprint from X and quick pivot shot high. Offball, Pehlke will sneak from X often for the easy finish. I could maybe see Pehlke on Man-up in 2020 as a shooter, though it's tough to tell this early.
Fun fact (I blatantly stole from OSU's blurb): Mitchell's dad is Virginia's 4th all-time scorer. I like a player willing to make his own name.
Carson Raney Episcopal School of Dallas (TX)
At 6'4", 210 poinds, Raney has exceptional size for a longpole defender. Another football player during the fall, Raney plays like it when an offensive player gets too close for comfort. Physical against the dodge, Raney moves well laterally. Raney also has pretty good stick skills, as a passer and as an on-ball defender. He and Snyder will be a force down low for years to come.
Jacob Snyder Calvert Hall (MD)
One of two 4-star poles, Jacob Snyder helped anchor a Calvert Hall defense that propelled the Cardinals to a title in the toughest conference in America. The MIAA gets more coverage than 80% of D1 teams, and Snyder is right there in the thick of it.
As a pole, Snyder doesn't overwhelm you athletically. He's a sound, fundamental defender who is very smart. Snyder will help backside when it's needed, or turn back a dodger from any position. He's hard-nosed, and a great distributor of the ball once he vacuums it off the floor. With defense in flux, Snyder could be an early starter when he sets foot on campus.
Christian Tomei Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches (FL)
Christian is a beast in every sense of the word. He fills a goal very, very well. The guy is around 240 pounds, lifts regularly, and could very well be playing on the gridiron in Columbus as well. Tomei isn't too shabby as a shot stopper, either, coming to town as a 4-star goalie out of Florida. His most famous highlight is of him taking the ball downfield and giving a riding attackman the forearm shiver.
Tomei is easily the biggest recruit in the class in terms of size, and really gives the Buckeyes a wealth of depth at the goalie position. After last year's struggles, it will be nice to have serious talent vying for minutes.
Stephen Zupicich Fordham Preparatory School (NY)
Right out of the heart of NYC, Stephen Zupicich is a rangy longpole middie who gets up and down in transition. Zupicich took some faceoffs for his squad in 2018, as well as playing pretty good defense. He'll provide depth at LSM pretty quickly.
This is a really top notch class, and it will be fun to see each of them on campus! Updates will be made through the upcoming season in the commemts. Go Bucks!