Philadelphia-area native Matt Rambo is the top-ranked player in the nation and will be a welcome addition to a Maryland team that is losing quite a bit of firepower. (Photo Credit: 24 Seven Lax)
The 2013 season didn’t end exactly the way that the Maryland men’s lacrosse team would’ve liked. Maryland had its season ended last Sunday at the hands of Cornell and will lose seniors Jake Bernhardt, Owen Blye, Landon Carr, Billy Gribbin, John Haus, Jesse Bernhardt, and Kevin Cooper to graduation. It’s quite a lengthy list and it’s a group that has led the Terps to two national title appearances. However, coach John Tillman and the Terps have put together an extremely talented recruiting class for next season. According to Inside Lacrosse, Maryland has four of the top-1o ranked players in the nation. The Terps are no strangers to replacing talent as they did lose attacker/midfielder Joe Cummings last year and seemed to rebound quite well. To combat their upcoming player losses, Tillman hit the recruiting trail hard and prepared by poaching some of the talent out Pennsylvania, New York, and of course Maryland. On paper, it looks like a phenomenal class that will be coming to College Park in the fall. Below is a list of the commitments that Maryland currently holds for the 2013 class.
Matt Rambo, M, La Salle College (Springfield, Pa.); #1 ranked prospect on Inside Lacrosse
Analysis: Don’t get me wrong, Maryland is losing a colossal amount of talent from this year’s squad. However, getting the number-one recruit in the country certainly helps ease the pain. Rambo started out his high school career at Abington, where he scored a whopping 78 goals and dished out 24 assists during his freshman campaign. It was long thought that Rambo would head to Hofstra where his brother Rich plays but it sounded like he wanted to create his own legacy elsewhere (Stefon Diggs would approve of this). Coach John Tillman has targeted the Philadelphia suburbs and has had a tremendous amount of success in landing top talent such as attacker Owen Blye (Downington East) and defenseman Goran Murray (Haverford School). Tillman also plucked current starting goalie Niko Amato from La Salle a few years back, so Rambo won’t be the first Explorer to make his way to College Park. Rambo has the potential to be one of the all-time greats at Maryland and should receive extensive playing time during his freshman year.
Tim Rotanz, A, Shoreham-Wading River (Shoreham. Ny.); #3 ranked prospect on Inside Lacrosse
Analysis: The lefty from Long Island should be a nice running mate for Rambo. Rotanz has the pedigree of being a top-15 recruit and owns plenty of honors and distinctions that set him apart from most high school players around the country. The New York native was named the MVP of the Warrior 40 all-star game where he scored four goals and added an assist for Team Burn. On May 10, Rotanz became just the fourth player in Long Island boys lacrosse history to reach the 400-point plateau. He scored six goals and recorded six assists to achieve the feat. Rotanz is quite possibly the reason that Shoreham-Wading River is coming off a state championship and is undefeated this season. He could help fill the void left by Blye next season.
Connor Cannizzaro, A, Cazenovia Central (Cazenovia, Ny.); #7 ranked prospect on Inside Lacrosse
Analysis: Cannizzaro rounds out an offensive trio that could be one of the best that collegiate lacrosse has seen in quite some time. Cannizzaro can flat-out score, there’s no two ways about it. He is a smaller player that has to pick his spots but is extremely talented. The New York area has been kind to Tillman in recent years with players like midfielders Mike Chanenchuk and Charlie Raffa hailing from St. Anthony’s. It looks like the Terps have found another prime-time player from upstate New York and gives the Terps two strong attackers in this recruiting class.
Mackenzie Pons, D, Boys’ Latin (Bel Air, Md.); #9 ranked prospect on Inside Lacrosse
Analysis: Pons is the fourth top-10 player in Maryland’s 2013 class and clearly has earned such a distinction. Hailing from Bel Air, Pons is described by many as the top defensemen and for good reason. Pons helped lead the Lakers to an undefeated regular season and certainly will be a welcome addition for the Terps. Maryland isn’t really losing much on defense and will have Goran Murray back for his junior campaign. Pons might not be thrust right into the starting lineup, depending on where his level of play is at. However, Pons is an asset for Maryland that could start for several years in College Park.
Daniel Morris, G, Dallas-Jesuit (Dallas, Tx.); #38 ranked prospect on Inside Lacrosse
Analysis: It’s not often that you see high school players commit during their sophomore year. Many kids want to go through the process and feel out what situation would be best for them. However, that wasn’t the case for Dallas-area goalie Daniel Morris. Morris knew right away that College Park was where he wanted to play at the next level and he committed to Tillman and his staff during his sophomore season. Morris is a quick goalie that adds depth to the Terps. Niko Amato will be a senior next year and it’s never too early to start thinking about the future. Morris has the talent to step in next year and start. I’d also like to think Thomas Guarino also gets a chance to win the job. Guarino hasn’t seen much time in his two years at Maryland but does come from a strong winning program at Boys’ Latin. Could Morris be the next Amato? A guy who comes in and impresses from day one. It’s unclear if that will be the case but Morris certainly has the skills to do so.
Colin Heacock, A, Boys’ Latin (Bel Air, Md.); #40 ranked prospect on Inside Lacrosse
Analysis: Heacock was originally a Penn State commit but had a change of heart and committed to Maryland back in December. The Laker attacker can score with the best of them and can absolutely fire the ball as a lefty. Heacock is a former basketball standout, so he is a versatile player and is extremely athletic. He also likes to cut to the net and his size allows him to do that. He can camp out a space in front of the cage and that allows his teammates for find him. Heacock is a guy that could see plenty of playing time with the Terps during his freshman campaign.
John Belz, M, Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.)
Jake Clise, A, Loyola Blakefield (Towson, Md.)
Isaiah Davis-Allen, M, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Alexandria, Va.)
Chad Rafferty, LSM/D, Malvern Prep (Malvern, Pa.)
Ben Chisolm, A, South River (Edgewater, Md.)
Lucas Gradinger, A, Torrey Pines (San Diego, Ca.)
Josh Reinson, M, Montgomery (Skillman, Nj.)
Tim Muller, D, Chaminade (Mineola, Ny.)
Wyatt Wood, M, Cathedral (South Bend, In.)