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Men's Lacrosse: An Eventful Recruiting Fortnight

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beserkr29's picture
September 14, 2020 at 10:27am

It's been nearly two weeks since the contact period started, and Ohio State has secured a couple of quality commitments, in addition to the carryover commit from 2021. I originally started this post as an explanation of the Buckeyes' slow start, but then Jones and Gelinas pledged, making it moot. So we will go with a general update on the recruiting process instead.

To keep things Ohio State-centric, the Buckeyes are hunting whales right now. The staff is looking to do something that has never been done before at Ohio State on the recruiting trail, and that's bring in the #1 overall player in the country.

They're going after Joey Spallina with all they have (just like literally every other program in the country), and that is going to mean that the makeup of the class will depend largely on what happens in that race. Joey Spallina's father, Joe Spallina, has already confirmed with IL that the younger Spallina is getting offers of more money than is generally given to lacrosse players. If that's the case with this staff, there are some serious implications for the class.

First and foremost, it will mean that the class becomes more Ohio-heavy with Spallina in the fold than if he goes elsewhere. With fewer dollars to go around, the in-state talent will be at a premium for Ohio State. One of the advantages of in-state prospects is that partial scholarships have a much bigger effect on the process than they do with out of state players. The Buckeyes have been very short on Ohio talent lately, but that could change if (and it's a HUGE if) Joey Spallina commits.

Second, a Spallina signing would most likely make this class a bit smaller than usual. With fewer resources to spread around, it makes sense that the staff would bring in fewer players. And, if we're being honest, that might not be a bad thing. There's been a few head-scratching recruits, lately, and certainly more than a little roster turnover.

The staff would be better served, in my opinion, to concentrate on a few NY/MD/PA/Prep School studs and fill in with Ohio talent than to try to go to the ends of the earth looping in out of state fringe players. There's just not enough top-tier talent on the roster currently to take this team to a top-5 ranking annually. And, looking at their targets here, it looks like that is the direction they are taking, at least in part.

Third, even though I just talked about a smaller class, bringing in a player of Spallina's profile would really turn heads nationally, barring a flip. The idea of playing with one of the most complete attackmen ever coming out of high school is really enticing, especially for those who want to win the big dance. What Ohio State has always been missing is a truly dominant offense, and the addition of Spallina would solve that issue for years.

It would have repercussions in the transfer game, too. Pair the Mitchell twins with Spallina, and you've got 2 years of magic, potentially. Add some shooters to augment the O, and there will be goals aplenty. Which is essentially guaranteeing some visits to Memorial Day Weekend.

If, as is likely, Ohio State misses out on Spallina, there's not much that would change for the recruiting process.
The Buckeyes will look to fill out their roster as best they can, just without top 100 talent coming out of Columbus to rely upon. It will be mildly disappointing, but not devastating. Especially since the Buckeyes already have a good offensive class going for 2022.

As for the rest of the B1G, things have been pretty much normal. TTUN got a huge commit from Finlay Thomson, who I thought might be a late 2021 addition to the Buckeye class, but instead reclassified to 2022 and chose evil. He will pair with Justin Zawada and Michael Boehm in a Michigan offense that gets more potent every year, but has yet to have the defense to back it up. The Wolverines also added a top 100 FOGO in Jack Rideout, who will hope to solve an issue that has plagued TTUN for years.

Maryland had a few high profile players commit, as per usual, but the change in coaches at Hopkins hasn't led to a huge influx of talent yet for the Jays. Johns Hopkins did get a huge commitment, literally and figuratively, from Matt Collison, a player Ohio State seemed to come in way too late on. Rutgers just lost their defensive coordinator, and pulled in 6 transfers.

Things will be slow for the Scarlet Knights for a while, though they did get a commitment from a 4-star legacy. Penn State has had a bunch of movement in 2021, but still hasn't gotten a 2022 commit yet. Their 2021 class is absurd, however, so they may be taking under 10 players.

Meanwhile, the Ivy League and ACC have absolutely dominated the trail. Notre Dame has 4 top 100 committed players in 2022 already. Syracuse got a middie from Texas, an attackman from Long Island the Bucks were hard after, and a pole.

Virginia has a 5-star FOGO committed, along with a 5-star attackman that I really thought Ohio State had a chance at bringing in. Duke got a pledge from another top 100 FOGO, along with a middie and an attackman. The Blue Devils may be in line for a smaller 2022 class too, given the talent they have stacked up right now.

And, as per usual, North Carolina is utterly killing it. Again. After picking up the best player in the transfer portal in Chris Gray for 2020, the Tar Heels have several top 100 commits in 2022, while 2021 stands out as easily the best class in the country top to bottom.

The Ivy League has several blue chips headed to Cornell, Princeton, and Harvard, including a couple of 5-star guys. Eligibility in the Ivy League is tricky, so their classes will be a bit bigger given the lack of grad students on those rosters. Add in the educational prestige (real or imagined), additional aid due to need, and opportunity for connections, the Ivy League is well-positioned for the next few Covid classes.

Additionally, the Ivies have really upgraded coaches across the board over the past couple of years. All of this makes it that much harder for the B1G and other conferences to compete for 2022 commitments. Especially given the lack of film out there.

Given the hardships brought on by Covid-19, the pace of commitments for the 2022s has been impressive.. As I outlined above, the Buckeyes are trying to do a delicate balancing act with their scholarship numbers. The rest of the B1G is also in various stages of roster construction, or just flat out are terrible (Hey Rutgers). Yes, I say that knowing full well that Rutgers beat OSU soundly in 2019. Rutgers is still terrible, and once Charalambides ends his 7/8-year career in college lacrosse, they will fall back once more.

Right now, however, the Buckeyes will be looking to follow up their early successes into hauling in some top end offensive talent. The defense has been stellar, despite last year's dip, and there are some real studs in the pipeline. Hopefully we will see even more wins on the recruiting trail in the coming days, maybe even the first #1 overall in OSU history!

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