Three years ago, Chase LaDrido of San Diego and his family were avid baseball fans. That all changed when his older brother, Dean, announced he wanted to try lacrosse.
Earlier this month, LaDrido became the first member of the Class of 2020 from the West Coast to commit to a Division I men's lacrosse program, choosing to play for Johns Hopkins.
"I just wanted to have a school that I could call mine right now and then not to have to worry about the recruiting process during high school so that I could just focus hard on getting better and continuing to play the game," said LaDrido, who will be a freshman at The Bishop's School in La Jolla, Calif., this fall. "… I knew that Hopkins was the perfect choice for me."
The midfielder would be the first player from California on Johns Hopkins' roster since defenseman Matt Drenan completed his eligibility in 2010. Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala did not return a request seeking comment.
Jono Zissi — director of West Coast Starz, a club program for which LaDrido has played — said LaDrido is a perfect fit for Johns Hopkins.
"I think the biggest things with Chase that jump off the page are how athletic he is and his ability to sort of do everything," Zissi said. "He can shoot with both hands, he can play defense, he can clear the ball. At showcases, you see him just going end to end with his speed and his skill set, and you're just like, 'Wow.'"
LaDrido began to burnish his profile this summer at national tournaments and camps. Soon, 2016 NCAA champion North Carolina and title game finalist Maryland joined the chorus of teams jockeying for the precocious middle schooler.
But LaDrido said playing for the Blue Jays has been his dream.
"I think it was because of the history that Hopkins has in lacrosse and obviously, they're a winning program," said LaDrido, adding that a smaller student body and campus like the one Johns Hopkins has to offer is a better fit than Maryland and North Carolina. "And I think what also attracted me to Hopkins was because of the atmosphere and the high-quality school that it is."
LaDrido committed before the NCAA appears poised to adopt legislation proposed by college lacrosse coaches on the men's and women's sides to restrict recruiting. If the governing body's board of directors approves the measure in April, coaches will be banned from communicating with a prospective athlete until Sept. 1 of his or her junior year in high school.