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ESPN Rise on Picking a College

Posted Thursday, November 11, 2010 by ESPN Rise

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

Duke's Terrence Molinari, knocks the ball loose from Loyola's Tim McDermott (22) during third quarter action of a first round NCAA championship lacrosse game, Saturday, May 10, 2008, in Durham, N.C. Duke beat Loyola, 12-7. (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Chris Seward)
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
11/09/10 - RELATED 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

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