With oral commitments from sophomores growing from a trickle to a deluge the past couple of years, it was only a matter of time before the first freshman commitment arrived.
That time is now.
According to Inside Lacrosse, the history makers are attackman Forry Smith of the Haverford School in Havertown, Pa., and Johns Hopkins, which should come as no surprise given remarks that coach Dave Pietramala made to Baltimore Sun reporter Childs Walker in a story on the sophomore trend that ran this month:
"There's no question I'm talking out both sides of my mouth on this," Pietramala said. "I'd love to see the recruiting calendar pushed back, but at the same time, I'm sitting here talking to my staff about which [high school freshmen] we're going to go see in the fall. Until we all agree to stop, it's going to get worse."
"We're on a very slippery slope," Pietramala says. "While we're not totally there, we're headed down the same road as basketball and football."
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Smith – who also plays basketball -- has played for Duke's LC, Mesa Fresh 2016 and Philadelphia Fever, most recently participating in Brandywine Classic and Lax-O-Lantern, among other events.
This summer, he was a key part of the Duke’s Triple H team that won the under-15 AA (elite division) championship at the Patriot Games, defeating Baltimore power Looney’s LC, 10-4, in the final. In the semifinal against Leading Edge 2016, Smith scored an unassisted goal as time expired in regulation to tie the game at 5 and assisted on the overtime winner.
Not to be overlooked is another commitment by a sophomore -- midfielder Matt LeCompte of Stephen Decatur High in Berlin, who has picked Notre Dame. The 6-2, 175-pound Ocean City native played varsity lacrosse as a freshman and helped Stephen Decatur win the 2012 Bayside Conference Championship.
A member of the Maryland Free-State Rising Sophomore Team in 2012, he also plays with the Annapolis Hawks/Hogan Lax under coaches Matt Hogan, Dave Cottle and Tim Troutner. LeCompte attended Jake Reed's Nike Blue Chip camp for rising sophomores, UP Lax, Fall Lax Invitational, Crab Feast, Bay Bridge Brawl with Annapolis Hawks. He played on the championship team in Hershey Laxfest 2012 with the Delmarva Elite Sharks and is also a member of the varsity basketball team. He also considered Maryland, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins.
The commitments ramp up a trend decried by US Lacrosse. Last month the sport's governing body issued a statement calling for restrictions on the age at which players may be recruited and saying the current recruiting climate is negatively affecting players, coaches and parents.
This year, about 50 sophomore boys had made commitments heading into November, according to Inside Lacrosse. Just a few years ago, commitments by sophomores were unheard of. Now, with Smith opening the door for freshmen, it will be interesting to see whether others follow suit or whether it serves as the catalyst for the recruiting clampdown that US Lacrosse is seeking.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun