I have a weird relationship with college lacrosse recruiting: I should probably follow it fairly deeply, but instead I spend my free time eating ice cream sandwiches and destroying adolescents in online Mario Kart death matches. This is obviously a blind spot in my knowledge core, but I can reconcile this easily: Recruiting -- notably for college lacrosse -- is a fickle mistress. Between the washout rate in college lacrosse, the unique talent transition issues concomitant in the game (moving from the uneven preparatory level to the hyper-challenging Division I level), academic challenges, stylistic differences among programs and the ability to adapt to them, and roster issues that my limit a player's ceiling, college lacrosse recruiting creates difficulties is substantially projecting the impact of a freshman -- or even an entire class of rookies --for an upcoming season. So, I basically rely on others to tell me what they think and then I wait until the first few weeks of the spring season to start seriously considering what newcomers may do on the field as the season progresses.One place I rely on heavily to put players on my radar is Inside Lacrosse. Ty Xanders and Geoff Shannon do a nice job attempting to canvas the country and put together a manageable construct to work within. The publication recently released its yearly recruiting issue (you can get the digital issue here; if you're still waiting for your print edition, tell your mailman to pick up the pace and stop ruining your existence); there's all kinds of stuff in there -- a top 100 list, position breakdowns, the top 20 classes, and features on notable players. To complement the issue, Inside Lacrosse has published -- via the Internet machine! -- its top ranked player in the Class of 2013 and the top overall class.
Let's start with the latter: John Tillman has pulled in the best haul in the nation, putting Maryland at the top of the charts:
Maryland brings in Inside Lacrosse's No. 1 recruiting class.
The Maryland class features two recruits in the top five of the Power 100: No. 2 Matt Rambo, an attackman from La Salle College (Pa.), and No. 3 Tim Rotanz, an attackman from Shoreham-Wading River (N.Y.). The class features nine Power 100 recruits and is deep and diverse, but headlined by top-tier talent.
Maryland's class edges Syracuse, which has the No. 2-ranked class.
Here's Maryland's incoming class:
Matt Rambo, A, La Salle (Pa.)
Tim Rotanz, A, Shoreham-Wading River (N.Y.)
Connor Cannizzaro, A, Cazenovia (N.Y.)
Colin Heacock, A, Boys' Latin (Md.)
Lucas Gradinger, A, Torrey Pines (Calif.)
Isaiah Davis-Allen, M, St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.)
John Belz, M, Calvert Hall (Md.)
Josh Reinson, M, Montgomery (N.J.)
Wyatt Wood, M, Cathedral (Ind.)
Chad Rafferty, LSM/D, Malvern Prep (Pa.)
Ben Chisolm, A, South River (Md.)
Mac Pons, D, Boys' Latin (Md.)
Tim Muller, D, Chaminade (N.Y.)
Daniel Morris, G, Dallas Jesuit (Tex.)
Rambo is the real deal and Rotanz and Cannizzaro aren't far behind. In fact, Rambo has been at the top of his class for seemingly forever, topping Inside Lacrosse's junior rankings last season. The Terrapins are jonesing for an influx of talent after losing some valuable assets due to graduation, and much will be expected from this class to contribute fairly early. Which brings up another fun moment in recruiting hubris: Remember when Virginia brought in "The Best Recruiting Class Ever?" in 2007, leading people believe that the Cavaliers would win 10,000 championships in a row? That was great. The takeaway here is straightforward: This is an important class for Maryland; any other assumptions or beliefs are exactly that.
As for individual player rankings, Syracuse claims the honor of shoving crappy dining hall gruel down the throat of the nation's presumed strongest freshman:
Inside Lacrosse's No. 1 recruit is Syracuse's next 22.
Jordan Evans has been ranked No. 1 in Inside Lacrosse Magazine’s annual Power 100 Freshman list.
Evans, from Jamesville-DeWitt, put up a career 396 points — 205 goals and 191 assists — and will wear the illustrious No. 22 at Syracuse next season.
Evans isn’t big, standing 5-11 and 165 lbs., but he’s developed into an athletic, intelligent and nearly unstoppable player who can excel at both midfield and attack, with a knack for creating offense in the face of constant double-teams, much like a Mike Powell.
Following Inside Lacrosse's announcement that Evans led their list of freshman entering the 2014 season, the chatter about Evans wasn't built around whether he deserved the honor but rather how sociopathic Syracuse fans would treat their fancy new toy:
Now starts the hate on Jordan Evans. Does he need to apologize for being the #1 rated recruit & 22? Give the kid a chance to ball.— Paul Carcaterra (@paulcarcaterra) August 5, 2013
Don't ever change, increasingly-insane-and-operating-in-a-universe-where-expectations-for-players-include-winning-10-national-championships-in-one-season-and-conquering-the-moon-through-a-personal-expedition-made-via-a-homemade-spacecraft Syracuse fans.