This time of year is always quiet for college lacrosse news, as it is a busy recruiting season for staffs, with no practice or games to run. It's the hot months that set the stage for crazy September commitment blitzes once contact starts, prior to the beginning of fall ball. With recent news, however, it is time to get an update online to go over some of the developments that have cropped up.
We have seen the confirmed addition of four players to the roster from other college teams, evenly split between offense and defense. On the offensive end, Kyle Lewis, an attackman from Lynchburg, is joining the ranks, along with Richie LaCalandra, a lefty attackman from LIU.
Both players are more geared towards facilitating than slamming in goals, which is really what this roster needed. After Myers and Allen, the ability of Ohio State to initiate offense was non-existent. Adding these two will add some punch to the offense while the staff sifts through the new blood on the roster.
Defensively, former Army defenseman, and All-American, Marcus Hudgins joins the Buckeyes, as well as Maryland LSM Justin Sherrer. Hudgins is almost certainly a lock to start if he gets back in the groove after taking a year off as he separated from West Point. Sherrer is a wonderful addition at a position that was in dire straits, all things considered. Both players will have the opportunity to be big pieces if they are up to it.
While the staff is gearing up for 2024, they did manage to make a late addition (relatively) to the 2023 class by flipping midfielder Alex Dixon, a big shooter who was committed to Utah. Dixon will be at Western Reserve Academy for his senior year, getting a big boost in development from Dylan Sheridan. I said it before, but Sheridan might be even more valuable as a Prep coach feeding to Ohio State than he was on staff.
Dixon is setting up to be an offensive gunner for the Scarlet and Gray when he steps on campus, as the Buckeyes will need to retool following the graduation of Jack Myers.
As it stands right now, the Buckeyes are bringing in, by my count, 17 new players for 2023, which would be a 35% change in the makeup of the roster from 2022. I am reasonably certain that Jack Myers might be the only concrete holdover from 2022. Jason Knox is looking likely to be back, but until the roster drops in August it's impossible to know for sure.
Still, with over a third of the roster being made up of new players, we will see a completely different team than tne one that struggled to a first-round exit in the NCAA tournament. Hopefully with more punch on offense, and a stouter defense. Though that's going to fall more on the "sled dogs" than the low poles.
Volunteer assistant Ian Moore got a full-time DI gig as an assistant at UMass-Lowell, joining the River Hawks' new regime in Massachusetts. It's nice to be paid for what you do, so there's no blame to cast whatsoever on that decision. For either side. But it does open up a new slot on the staff, the fourth or fifth consecutive year with at least one coaching change on a staff of four. You can email Nick Myers directly if you choose to apply for the gig. Be advised, a lacrosse coaching background IS required.
The new field and facility are going up fast. The skeleton looks pretty much complete, while they have moved on to building walls and the upper floors. I don't know if it will be completely done in time for 2023, but it should be pretty darn close. And I will bet it looks glorious at the end of the project. I know I am excited. Hopefully they do some interesting midfield designs or turf replacement more often than every 10 years.
Don't look now, but Michigan State has broken ground on their own lacrosse facilities in East Lansing. That doesn't necessarily mean that there will be a DI team there in the near future. But it sure sounds promising.
The MCLA team is just a few years removed from winning a national championship, but hasn't been quite the same since. Their coach moved on to a series of other gigs, and the Spartans joined the UMLC, which has a powerhouse in Minnesota that takes the conference crown and bid to nationals just about every year.
At least one other MCLA school (Liberty) has lockerrooms and lacrosse facilities for what is club ball, but the Spartans have been DI varsity before. This could signal a return to the ranks, especially with the Wolverines already a decade in to trying to build their program.
Also, if Notre Dame joins the Big Ten, the conference will be easily the toughest in the country for lacrosse. It'll be more competitive than the national tournament just about every year.
The committee on rules in lacrosse continues its ceaseless tinkering, this time changing the crease dive rule. Now, if a defender pushes an offensive player in the crease on a diving shot, the resulting goal will no longer be wiped out in the latest proposed changes. Which is probably good.
The committee is also considering a rule regarding the Gait D head, which supposedly is going to change the game. Sporting twin hooks on the plastic itself, the head allows defenders to use the plastic stick like old wooden warhorses from a bygone era. You used to be able to use the wooden crook to latch onto an offensive player's stick and dump the ball. These protrusions do the same thing, but in a different motion. No official word yet on if the head will be outlawed in time for 2023, if at all.
Finally, to wrap up the doldrums of midsummer, the new contact period is just a month away. It will be a race to see if the staff gets the first commitment on the board before the Buckeyes take on the boys from South Bend. I am betting they will for sure. I don't know who. But it took no time at all to land the first 2023. The staff has all the momentum going into 2024.
Freshmen report in the middle of the month as well, while the roster drops fairly soon after that. I will need to see what the fallball schedule looks like when it gets closer, which will probably surface on Inside Lacrosse. Last year the Buckeyes started late and scrimmaged two top-tier programs that had okay (Yale) and poor (Syracuse) seasons.
It's going to be an interesting, and hopefully fun, ride as we move into the next season. Lacrosse never sleeps.
Go Buckeyes! Beat the Irish!