“Stars Matter” is a common phrase when I listen to one of my favorite football podcasters and writers, Ari Wasserman of The Athletic, and it certainly applies to high school lacrosse. The philosophy is simple, the more talent you have, the better chance that your team will be successful and win a championship.
This helps explain why Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State football are so good. For example, They routinely have the top-rated recruiting classes and are usually in a position to win a national championship year in and year out.
Football has Rivals and 247 to track and measure commitments, but lacrosse is a bit different. It is not tracked or followed as closely as football. Last week, Ty Xanders of Inside Lacrosse put out his Class of 2022 Rankings. Ty does a good job of compiling this information and I wanted to take a big picture look and track some of the storylines from the high school lacrosse class of 2022 as we get ready for the 2023 season.
Five Biggest Takeaways From the High School Lacrosse Class of 2022
The Hotbeds Remain HOT
This summer, I took a look at how lacrosse has grown and expanded over the last 20 years. Taking a look at a map of North America, the majority of top-rated lacrosse players still come from the Northeastern part of the country.
Maryland led all states with 17 players. New York accounted for 14. Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania had 10 apiece. In total, 80% of the Top 100 Class of 2022 players came from the Northeast.
Sixteen schools had multiple players on the Top 100 list. St. John’s College High School in Washington D.C. had an astounding six players on the list. The Boys Latin School of Maryland and Culver Academy each had three players on the list.
The Big 3 Arms Race
The ACC, Ivy League, and Big Ten are the Alabama and Georgia of lacrosse. The three conferences had 90% of the five-star rated players (down from 100% in 2021) and 80% of the Top 100 players going to their respective universities.
The ACC had the most five-stars with 65% of the top-rated players committed to playing for the conference. In fact, the top seven players on the list are all committed to playing in the ACC.
The Ivy League has done a great job for the second year in a row collecting the four-star talent. The league has 22 four-star players coming in, ahead of the ACC (19) and the Big Ten (18).
‘Cuse and Virginia Are Seeing Stars
Syracuse and Virginia are the two winners of the high school lacrosse class of 2022. Gary Gait and the Orange have put together an impressive class led by the top-rated player in the country, Joey Spallina.
Syracuse has ten of the top-rated and while many may be quick to say that Cuse will be back, they are still going to be without Tucker Dordevic, Brendan Curry, Owen Seebold, and Matteo Corsi. Last season UNC brought in a number of top-rated freshmen but they struggled to fully adapt and contribute to the college game.
Lars Tiffany is a recruiting whisperer. Tiffany brings in seven of the top-rated players in the country to add to a deep and talented Cavaliers roster. Last year, the Cavs brought in Griffin Schutz (the top-rated player in the high school lacrosse class of 2021) and Matthew Nunes (the 5th best player in the class). Each of them played big parts in helping UVA be the only ACC representative in the NCAA Lacrosse Tournament last spring.
This year, Lars brings in Truitt Sunderland from Calvert Hall College High School. Watching his senior year highlights reminds me of Ian Laviano from a couple of years ago. Truitt is only 5’10” but plays with great energy. Laviano was not always the biggest guy on the field but brought great energy on the ride and to his teammates.
The Ivy Continues to Build
2023 is the year we can put away the Ivy League’s decision to not play the 2021 season. Sure it was unfortunate at the time, but many of those seniors were able to find other opportunities and play that season.
The decision has not hurt the league in recruiting however. While the ACC and Big Ten have brought in more five-stars, the Ivy League has brought in more four-star athletes than either of their counterparts in the last two recruiting cycles.
We saw top freshmen Sam King of Harvard and Leo Johnson of Yale take Division 1 by storm last year. Penn and Cornell were the only two Ivy League programs to bring in any five-star athletes. Griffin Scane is the top rated five-star and will play this upcoming season for the Quakers.
Harvard and Princeton both added to their incredible depth by each bringing in six four-star athletes while Yale brought in four along with Brown (with the help of Larken probably) who brought in three four-stars. The league continues to grow and build and will continue to push the ACC and Big Ten for those at-large spots in the tournament.
Other Teams to Look Out For
- Loyola and Towson were the only two teams outside of the “Big 3” to secure a commitment from a five-star player. Loyola welcomes defenseman Matthew Minicus from Darien High School. Towson brings in Midfielder Michael Weisshaar from Archbishop Spalding High School.
- The Patriot League passed the Big East in 2022. The Patriot League signed ten of the top players to the Big East’s eight. Last year, the Big East signed eleven players to the Patriot League’s six.