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Knowing your skills can help determine what level of college lacrosse to play

There are many options outside of Division I for high school lacrosse athletes

 
High school coaches should be the first source to help an athlete figure out what level of college lacrosse is the best fit. Photo By: Chris Seward

11/09/10RELATED LINKS:  2011 Boys Verbal Commitments 2011 Girls Verbal Commitments | 2012 Boys Verbal Commitments
 

More Recruiting Road
Lacrosse scholarship breakdown
How expansion has affected recruiting
How to get noticed
How events factor in recruiting
What role does club lacrosse play in recruiting
What role does the highlight tape play in recruiting
What can players from non-traditional areas do to help thier recruting?
How can players be self aware of their talent?
What is the role of the official visit? (Nov. 16)

EDITORS NOTE: Tuesdays ESPN RISE editors release a new lacrosse story in the weekly series Recruiting Road. We will feature coaches’ and recruiters’ answers to some of the most asked recruiting questions.

Self awareness can be tough.

For a high school athlete, it can mean the difference between realizing their talent does not match up with the dream of playing Division I lacrosse.

But self awareness can be an athlete’s biggest asset. Knowing your skills and knowing how you match up against players on your team, league and state can go a long way in helping an athlete find a college that is best suited to their talents and future goals.

But figuring out what level of lacrosse suits you best can be challenging, which is why ESPN RISE asked five college coaches how players can help themselves determine how good they really are.

ESPN RISE: How do you determine what level of lacrosse you are best suited to play?

Kevin Corrigan, Notre Dame
“Start sending tape out to coaches and see what the response is. Send your tape out to three Top 10 D-I programs and a couple Top 20 programs and a couple of D-III programs. See what kind of response you get. No one is going to tell you exactly where you fit because it’s a hard thing to know – lacrosse recruiting is an inexact science. Outside of attending events, get the film to people who can tell you. There are people in almost every area that have a pretty good grasp on this. It may not be your high school coach, but there’s a guy in your area who knows what the deal is.”

Matt Kerwick, Jacksonville University
“If a kid has aspirations to play at the highest level they should go after that. Ask for the coaches opinion, we’ll be honest – we have a great group of coaches at Division I and I like to think we’ll always be honest with the kids. If you get the information out there early enough so coaches can get out an evaluate you and be honest with you. Also, ask your high school coach where you fit.”

Dave Pietramala, Johns Hopkins
“You have to rely on the high school coaches. Many have placed guys at Division I, II or III. Speak with your high school coach, the guy that sees you every day and knows your work ethic, knows your grades and athletic ability. When you get to Sept. 1 of your junior year, if you’ve been out at camps and seen by college coaches, the interest level you get should paint a realistic picture for you. If you’re hearing from all Division III schools then that should give you a sense where you are, ability-wise.”

Growing Pains
Lacrosse is growing rapidly in high school, according to a US Lacrosse report the sport has grown from more than 250,000 participants in 2001 to more than 560,000 in 2009.In contrast, according to LaxPower.com, NCAA Division I lacrosse has gone from 50 teams in 1981 to only 60 in 2010. The number of participants has grown from 1,600 to a modest 2,500. With more high school athletes vying for a Division I scholarship, the process has grown more competitive.

Bill Tierney, University of Denver
“They need to recognize and be honest. If they have 20 letters from Division III schools and one from a lower Division I school, they have to look in the mirror and realize they may be a Division III player. One thing kids always forget is that we’re always recruiting. It’s not like high school where you can look in front of you and see who’s graduating and figure they’ll move up. There are kids being recruited behind them as well and it’s a meritocracy and if they’re better, they’ll play.”

Charles Toomey, Loyola
“The first resource should always be the high school coach. Sometimes the kids don’t like what they hear, but I don’t know of a high school coach in the country that wants to put a young man in a tough situation and oversell him. As a high school coach, they get a feel for the kids. Maybe they have a teammate whose father played collegiate lacrosse, so that could be a resource they can reach out and talk to. If they call us as coaches and we’re recruiting them we will certainly give them an indicator, at least for our program. But remember, just because I’m not recruiting you, it doesn’t mean you’re not a Division I player. Recruiting is in the eye of the beholder.”

Next week: What role does the official visit play in recruiting?

Also upcoming: How has the official visit changed in the past few years? What should athletes be doing to prepare themselves academically?

ESPN RISE: What can players do academically to prepare themselves to be recruited?

Lelan Rogers, Syracuse Recruiting Coordinator
“You want to be well rounded. If you play a couple sports, participate in a couple activities, you’re involved in the community and solid academically – those are all things that we are all looking for.”

Growing Pains
Lacrosse is growing rapidly in high school, according to a US Lacrosse report the sport has grown from more than 250,000 participants in 2001 to more than 560,000 in 2009.In contrast, according to LaxPower.com, NCAA Division I lacrosse has gone from 50 teams in 1981 to only 60 in 2010. The number of participants has grown from 1,600 to a modest 2,500. With more high school athletes vying for a Division I scholarship, the process has grown more competitive.

Charles Toomey, Loyola
“Any chance you have to take AP classes or honors classes – that is something admissions is always looking for. A’s are more preferable than B’s. We like to say your door is wide open as a freshman. Any time you get a C you close that door a little bit. You might close it for some institution while it remains open for others. The more C’s you get the more doors that close. You don’t want to narrow your options and have a college coach tell you no because the admissions office won’t let them recruit you.”

ESPN RISE: Is there anything athletes from non-traditional lacrosse areas can do to get noticed?

Kevin Corrigan, Notre Dame
“It’s tougher for kids who are not from traditional areas. You’re best bet is to try to get some people to give you some advice. Start with the events and games you’re playing in. If you are in a good league and you’re one of the best players in your league it will help you.”

Matt Kerwick, Jacksonville University
“From the non-traditional areas here in Florida and out in California, a lot of what we’re learning about them has been initiated from them – they send us a link. It’s very important to be proactive and reach out to coaches even if you think it might be a long shot. Don’t be afraid to send an e-mail early. Get their name out to the coaches and schools they’re interested in early.”

Dave Pietramala, Johns Hopkins
“This is a world of technology now and they need to use the Internet. We’ve recruited kids off a link from a website. If a coach is worth his weight in gold, someone on the staff is going to evaluate that footage. If you’re in a non-traditional area and have not been able to get out to the camps, that’s an easy way to put yourself in front of a college coach. We have a couple guys here we recruited strictly off video we received.”

Growing Pains
Lacrosse is growing rapidly in high school, according to a US Lacrosse report the sport has grown from more than 250,000 participants in 2001 to more than 560,000 in 2009.

In contrast, according to LaxPower.com, NCAA Division I lacrosse has gone from 50 teams in 1981 to only 60 in 2010. The number of participants has grown from 1,600 to a modest 2,500. With more high school athletes vying for a Division I scholarship, the process has grown more competitive.

Bill Tierney, University of Denver
“The YouTube and DVD thing is a double-edged sword. It’s a way for them to get introduced to that coach, but I don’t think there are many coaches out there that are going to say to a kid, ‘yes I have 10 spots, and from your DVD you’re on my list.’ What they will say is, ‘I liked your DVD and where are you playing?’ They need to see them live. The other edge is if it’s not good or not good enough, that will be the end of it. They’re not going to write them back and say ‘I didn’t like your clip, but I’m going to give you a second chance.'”

Charles Toomey, Loyola
“Hopefully they can look into some of the club programs in their area and find out what exposure tournaments they go to. Once they find out about the tournaments, find out what colleges have attended those tournaments in the past. That’s their chance to be in front of those coaches. Take the time to reach out to the college coach and let them know you’re going to be there. Send them an e-mail with your jersey number, game times and where you’re going to be so it’s easier for us to track you once we get there.”

Next week: How can you determine what level of lacrosse you can play?

Also upcoming: How has the official visit changed in the past few years? What should athletes be doing to prepare themselves academically?  

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