After a break in the summer because my “job” suddenly became much busier and then the usual fall hiatus as we all enjoyed Hoke’s resurrection of the football program, it’s time to turn our attention to the Spring and the inaugural season of varsity lacrosse at Michigan. This post is just a series of links to help catch people up on what has happened since the end of last season and some stuff that will hopefully get you all excited for this spring. It’s winter, it’s cold, so it gives us the chance to think about warmer weather and sunny days ahead.
This list obviously far, far from exhaustive, so if anyone else has any links they would like to add please throw them up in the comments. But, to start out with, Great Lax State has Michigan’s 2012 schedule.
Love For Coach John Paul
John Paul has been the toast of the lacrosse community for the last six months since Michigan announced it would be the first BCS-level team to add varsity lacrosse since Notre Dame in 1981. Here are some great articles about Coach JP:
Inside Lacrosse has named JP and Michigan’s move to varsity it’s “2011 Story of the Year.” You can click on one story for free here or see the full article behind a paywall here. Lacrosse Magazine has named JP the “Lacrosse Man of the Year” in this story and they had a reporter spend a day with Michigan lacrosse to learn about Paul’s “Presidential” leadership style in this story. You can also read about Dave Brandon’s decision to go to varsity and why he never hesitated about his decision to keep JP on as the team’s first varsity coach.
Fall Ball Roundup
Michigan had it’s first varsity fall ball in October, which is the lacrosse equivalent of spring practices in football. It’s three weeks of full squad practices, but it also includes scrimmages against other schools. Lacrosse Magazine provided some great photos from the UM scrimmage against Providence and Concordia on October 3 in the Big House. Inside Lacrosse also provided summaries and box scores of the games that weekend.
Inside Lacrosse provided this wrap up of Michigan’s first fall ball session. Not surprisingly, the first round of games were tough for the Wolverines as they struggled to adjust both the speed of varsity level D1 lacrosse as well as the expectations of their own coaching staff. IL believes that the freshmen class looks solid, and points out that Goalie Emil Weiss (who was also listed as one of Quint Kessenich’s “Players Who Impressed Me Most” at this summer’s ESPN Rise Games), Midfielder David Joseph and Defensemen Ryan Breen (who was interviewed by Lax Lessons this fall after he de-committed from Lafayette) could all see playing time. One area of concern that jumps out to me for the first season, however, is the way that the coaching staff plans to change the role of Attackman Trevor Yealy. He’s been a crease player for the Wolverines the past couple of years, scoring 266 points primarily by hanging out around the net and scoring with quick shots off passes from in tight spaces. That’s a pretty niche role on the team, but now they are using him as a dodger from the outside. In basketball, this would be like moving your power forward who scored mostly off slam dunks and put backs, and asking him to move to point guard and to create shots for his teammates. I have not seen any of Michigan’s club games so I cannot say whether Yearly has that ability or not, but I do know it raises red flags. The coaches asking a successful player to take on a fundamentally new role on the offense for the first time—at the same time that he’ll also be asked to play against better individual defenseman and better schematic defenses. That’s a very tall order.
There have been lot of links about different recruits from various years in the past couple of months. As I said this past summer, lacrosse recruiting is much more similar to basketball recruiting than football so you see a lot of kids from 2013 and 2014 committing to colleges this time of year than anyone from 2012. Greatlaxstate.com has great info on all these players and some commitment posts, so if you’re interested in lax recruiting be sure to give them some traffic because they have their ears much closer to the ground than anyone else I've seen. Great info not just on UM, but also high school kids coming out of Michigan and the other lax programs in the state.
Inside Lacrosse provided their own breakdown of Michigan’s inaugural varsity recruiting class. Laxpower also has a similar write up about the class. The most impressive part of the class is that Coach JP was able to land 2 Top 100 recruits in his first class. Since he was joining the recruiting game in this class two or three years behind some of the other top programs in the country, that’s a pretty solid first haul. Taking 5 attackman, 4 middies, 4 defensemen and 3 Long Stick Middies shows what you’d expect from Michigan’s first class—they need numbers and depth at every position on the field. They also took a player from Ohio and Brother Rice, so JP is establishing some good ties for players in his own backyard.
The guy that’s gotten the most attention from the class is Attackman Brendan Gaughan. He’s from Carlsbad, CA, so not from a lacrosse powerhouse or a hotbed which means it will probably take him a year to adjust to the speed and angles of the game. On the other hand, his upside appears to be huge. His height and size at 6’4” 195 lbs means he’ll be a match up nightmare for any team trying to scheme against him especially if he can pack on 20 lbs between now and his freshmen season. He’s also a lefty, which means he opens up options for Michigan in even situation to potentially run a pairs offense rather than a tradition motion offense (more on this in later posts) as well as will immediately make an impact on Michigan’s Man-Up (or EMO) unit.
In my opinion, however, the big get in this class appears to be Faceoff man Brad Lott, who ESPN Rise ranks as the #1 FO in the country for 2012. In lacrosse, faceoffs are vital because possession is so crucial at the college level. For a young team in particular, a good faceoff man can allow you to steal a couple of possessions throughout a season when goals could be hard to come by and provide a break for a young defense. This is a really smart approach to recruiting by JP—landing a specialist who can immediately ease the pressure on your offense and defense. Long Stick Middie (LSM) Paxton Moore from Philadelphia Powerhouse Haverford School was also ranked as ESPN Rise’s #12 LSM in the class of 2012 and Charles Keady was ranked the #24 LSM in the same poll. Great teams are often built around these two all too often invisible positions; landing players of this caliber at these spots are great building blocks for the future.
The other two players to watch are the two kids out of The Hill School in Ontario. Midfielder Kyle Jackson made the Candadian U-19 National Team this summer and is ranked by Inside Lacrosse as the #2 Canadian prospect overall in the class of 2012. He’s undersized at 5’9”, but I assume he’s pretty fast if he won his high school team’s Workout Warrior award. Defenseman Cooper Charlton is your classic D1 D’s in terms of build at 6’3” and 200 lbs, in addition to the fact that he did a postgraduate year so he’ll essentially arrive on campus as a redshirt freshmen physically.
Laxpower lists Michigan has currently at 8 commits for the class of 2013. The breakdown is similar to 2012: 1 goalie, 1 Faceoff, 3 long poles, 2 attack, and 2 middies. Look for them to pick up 3-4 more middies in this class, along with another long pole and attack.
Phillylacrosse.com recently profiled goalie Robbie Zozino and he talked about his decision to attend Michigan. He’s a kid from a big time high school team in Conestoga, so he has a good pedigree to handle the pressures of standing between the pipes of a D1 team.
Defenseman Stefan Bergman was also profiled by Phillylacrosse.com.
Great Lax State has profiles from Long Pole Andrew Hatton and Attackman Austin Shanks.
Inside Lacrosse has some info on Faceoff man Will Biagi. Again, faceoff men are key for any team, so having a second commit at this position is great for the team.
Midfielder Mike Schlosser has a commitment post and highlight video up at NorCal Lacrosse.
Hugh Mosco became the first Michigan recruit from the class of 2014. He a defenseman from Georgetown Prep, one of the Washington DC powerhouses in an area filled with D1 talent, and his brother is a freshmen on the team this year. At 6’0” 175 you hope he has an inch or two left in terms of height before he gets on to campus, but any time you land a defensemen that also has gained interest from Johns Hopkins after only one year of high school, odds are pretty high that he’s a talented athlete. Great Lax State also provides its roundup on Mosco.
The women’s team picked up their first 2 verbal commits this fall. Midfielder Madeline Dion became the program’s first ever commit, and a commit from Maryland on top of that. Midfielder Amanda Sutor just committed this past week, and she comes from traditional power St. Paul’s School for Girls in Baltimore. The coaching staff is clearly making an effort to establish ties to the Maryland area, which if successful, could really pay off in the future. Both players are in the Class of 2013.
I’m hoping to provide some more basics in the coming weeks leading up to the season. My plan is to provide some basics on offense, defense, clearing, and special teams to help people who may be new to the game. If there is anything else you would like me to include, just let me know and I’ll give it a try. Again, I’m sure I left out some info on all of these players and the team, so throw up whatever you find as well.