Do The BEST High School Players ALWAYS Go D1?

Inside Lacrosse Top 100 Freshman Thompson
Thompson was a great choice!!!!

The parity of talent in college lacrosse is real.  Teams all over the spectrum have extremely talented players on their roster, and each year a huge class of great freshmen enter the ranks.  Inside Lacrosse recently named their Top 100 NCAA freshman for 2011-12 and while I’m NOT going to nitpick players on the list, the list itself did raise some serious questions:  Did EVERY single one of the Top 100 freshman choose to go D1 this year?  Are they telling me that not ONE Top 100 player went D2 or D3?  And they didn’t even include the MCLA.  Are you telling me ONE kid didn’t decide to play club ball instead?  Honestly, I find this pretty hard to believe.  So is it really the Top 100?

MCLA lacrosse game
Not ONE D2, D3, or MCLA player? REALLY?

And then we get to the next issue with the list… WHY ARE THERE NO CANADIANS?!?!?!?!  Canuck players have been LIGHTING up D1 scoreboards for years now, and yet somehow, none of them are on the Top 100 list.  I find that even more bizarre than the fact that no D2, D3 or MCLA players were listed!

I like the concept of the list, because it tries to elevate college lacrosse to a more “professional” level, and as a lax die-hard, I always love more info.  But only if it’s good info, or at least framed correctly.  And this really isn’t good info, but only because it’s so incomplete this time around.  Historically, IL has actually done a pretty good job with their lists, and we’ll use 2007 as a random example.  Check out IL’s list from 2007.  First off, they did have some Canadians back then, so I have no idea why they don’t for 2011, but whatever.  There still weren’t any D2 or D3 players on the list (no Dailey, Hessler, DeLuca, Chadderdon or Casimir?  Um, ok), but I’ll let that go for now.  Overall, IL captured a lot of great future players.

The Top 50 on IL’s list from 2007 is loaded up with names we all know.  In fact, there were only about 4-5 guys who didn’t instantly register with me as very good players.  Even when you get to the bottom 50 of the Top 100, the players are great.  I mean John Lade is number 98 and Jamie Lincoln was number 90!  But I’m certainly not going to bag on IL for putting those two a little low, because hindsight is 20-20, and it’s hard to judge where a kid will be in 4 years.  But the fact that these guys were on the list at all certainly means IL was trying to find the best of the best.

So here’s the rub in its simplest form: Why create a list like this, and basically call it the Top 100 Freshman when it’s clearly not? 

Call it the top 100 US field playing NCAA D1 freshman, because that’s what it is an attempt to create, and nothing more.  I can appreciate that IL wants to be all encompassing with their lists, and cover more of the lax world, and I love that they have those lofty goals, but follow through is equally important, and doing research in other divisions, and other countries is a bare minimum to any true Top 100 Freshman list.

So the big question is, do YOU know of any top level freshman (guys who are freshman RIGHT NOW) that didn’t go the D1 route, aren’t on IL’s list, are Canadian or Australian and that we should be keeping an eye on?  There simply HAVE to be players at the D2, D3 and MCLA levels that could be on this list… so WHO ARE THEY?  Make your opinion and knowledge heard!

Inside Lacrosse Top 100 Freshman Thompson
Thompson was still a great choice!!!!

Want to focus more on the Grow The Game movement than the Top 100 argument, and do it in your team’s style?  GTG Custom Ts!


  1. Not all the top players go D1. It depends on the players and parents thought process. You should want your child to go to a good school first, than lacrosse second. Your not making millions or even thousands being a pro laxxer. So you have to think about your future. Take Quinn Moroney from Manhasset. Great player, was looking into IVY’s, could have played at many good D1 Programs, bur decided to goto D3 Amherst, excellent school, top 10 D3 lax program.

  2. 1)  IL rates players based on summer recruiting camps.  So how many canucks make it to a field tournament?  Junior Boxla is a summer long commitment and Hill Academy players have been recognized.  As well as Mark Cockerton from OSHAWA, ONT  IL #3 recruit .
    2) Name a Top player that chose D2 or D3 school over D1 school.  Do not mention Kyle Hartzell, Eric Martin or other Salisbury Grads or other D3 MLL players.  Many of those players were not the players they are now when they graduated HS.  They developed physically and mentally in college and became amazing players. 
    3) Please don’t day this guy was an HS all-american and he isn’t ranked. I have coached many years in Vermont and only a couple of Vermont HS all-american would start or even make a MIAA team or upstate NY team or even Boston area team.
    4)  The more interesting argument is how many Top 100 IL players were D1 All-Americans and how many transferred to a D2 or D3 school.  That would be an interesting story.  

    • GREAT points @55ffff8e63d0ceefe665c737f968e997:disqus  !

      1) I just found it curious that there were no Canucks this year.  And like I said, it’s not that I have a problem with the list.  It’s just that it’s not named correctly and is marketed as Top 100 players list when many are excluded.

      2) Tom Zummo, John Landay, Glenn Adams, Mike Stone, Matt Dunn, Bryan Griffin, Sam Bradman, Andrew Wasik, Jed Raymond, Chris DeLuca.  They were all awesome players in HS, although some of them were overlooked.  BUT THAT’S THE POINT!  Summer recruiting camps aren’t the ONLY way to know about talent.  So again, the methodology and completeness of the list is therefore compromised at least a little.  No?

      3) Totally fair point.  I didn’t single any players out to drop or include simply by stats or All-American laurels.

      4) That WILL be an interesting story you mean!  Thanks.  Love it!

      Appreciate your comments.  More than happy to keep the discussion going…

      • What about all the founders league player that decided to go d3 even though they easily could have gone d1? Take Kent schools George Mazarakis or Tom Mangels for example. Both 2 time all league players. Mazarakis finished his senior season with 44 goals and 21 assists against some of the best HS teams in the country. Hes now at Dickinson a top 5 d3 program.

  3. Interesting to see Stephen Keough and Billy Bitter outside the top 60 on that list. Needless to say, it is hard to predict where a player will be once they end up in college. But it is interesting to think about how many of the REAL top 100 go d2 or d3. Many D3 players could have gone D1 but had academic issues. And what about OCC kids? The only kids in the Top 100 I ever saw were the Thompsons going to OCC, and there have been better players then them to go to the school

  4. Judging from the IL list over the past few years, it appears that they put it together in a backwards way. It seems that if you commit to a top school you get ranked highly. Young guns who were ranked highly but end up committing somewhere besides the “big time” schools magically drop in the rankings. Their logic seems to be that if he was really that good, he would have gone to Hop, UNC, or UVA, not that he chose a school that was a better fit. I’m not sure that IL does much actual scouting research, but relies on coaches (who have a vested interest in having their players ranked) and hearsay to make a list.

  5.  How about the top players (parents) paying for the tuition…… what if paying OCC’s tuition is all they can afford?  Then it would not be a D1 question. 
    Shouldn’t the degree/major drive the decision.   Then there’s also the kids grades – Hell, I hope my kid chooses MIT or Harvard and have a lifetime career after playing Lax  instead of 4 years D1, 4 years pro lax – hope to get sponsored, continue to play club lax and end up selling T-shirts/ shorts….. and stringing sticks in tournaments.  By the way, how many from the Top List actually graduated with the BS degrees and apply their degrees?

  6. I know one player thats going DII that was in the top 100 last year, he actually scored a goal in 5 seconds in the UA All-America game, dosen’t like the D1 school he choose and is transfering to NYIT.(one of the top D2 schools) and he got alot of money and was starting at his D1 school