JoJo Marasco. Gone. Brian Megill. Gone. Dave Hamlin, Luke Cometti, Steve Ianzito and Matt Pratt too.
But the Syracuse men’s lacrosse team will be just fine.
The Orange opened fall practice on Monday with a new No. 22 and, according to Inside Lacrosse, the second-rated recruiting class in the country.
Jordan Evans, a product of Jamesville-Dewitt, N.Y., and the top recruit in the 2017 class, will wear the tradition-soaked number. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound Evans finished his high school career with 396 points, notching 205 goals and 191 assists. He broke Jamesville-Dewitt’s season scoring record with 182 points (82 goals, 100 assists) last year.
“Of all the kids we saw, we thought he had the ability to wear that number,” Syracuse coach John Desko told Inside Lacrosse.
Evans, who can play midfield and attack, will join, among others, Gary Gait, the Powell brothers (Casey, Ryan and Mike) and Marasco, who led Syracuse to the national title game last season.
The speedy, exceptional dodger is just one of 16 freshmen in the highly touted class that features seven players among Inside Lacrosse’s “Power 100″ and six who received Under Armour All-America honors in 2013, tied with Duke for the most of any school.
Inside Lacrosse ranked Syracuse’s class behind Maryland’s and ahead of ACC brethren Virginia, North Carolina and Duke.
Aside from Evans, the class also includes:
Joe DeMarco, midfield/faceoff specialist, Massapequa, N.Y. As a senior, DeMarco recorded two goals, 14 assists, 235 ground balls and a .910 faceoff winning percentage.
Parker Ferrigan, goalie, Baldwinsville, N.Y. Considered the third-best goalie in the freshmen class by Inside Lacrosse, Ferrigan made 237 saves and recorded a .743 save percentage as a senior.
Scott Firman, defense, Fayetteville, N.Y. Ranked fourth among defenseman in the class, Firmin is an Under Armour and U.S. Lacrosse All-America. He and teammate Evans helped lead Jamesville-Dewitt to two undefeated seasons and back-to-back New York Class B state championships in 2010 and 2011.
JT Forkin, midfield, Long Beach, N.Y. Considered the fourth-best midfielder in the class, Forkin scored 153 goals, recorded 63 assists and 185 ground balls in his career. He had 57 goals, 20 assists and 50 ground balls as a senior.
Matt Lane, attack, Upper Montclair, N.J. Lane was named 2013 Star Ledger Essex County Player of the Year and a U.S. Lacrosse All-America. He is Essex County’s and his high school’s all-time leading scorer with 337 points (155 goals, 182 assists).
Dylan Maltz, attack, Ashburn, Va. The sixth-best attackman in the class, Under Armour and U.S. Lacrosse All-America broke his brother’s (Syracuse senior attackman Derek Maltz) high school records. He finished with 190 goals, 130 assists and 198 ground balls.
If these new additions don’t sound intriguing enough, consider this: the Orange also added Ryan Simmons, a midfielder from Fayetteville, N.Y., with a long line of Syracuse heritage. His great-grandfather (Roy Simmons Sr.), grandfather (Roy Simmons Jr.) and father (Roy Simmons III) all played and coached lacrosse at Syracuse. Roy Simmons Sr. and Roy Simmons Jr. are both in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame; Roy Simmons III is the team’s current director of operations.
The Inside Lacrosse class rankings don’t include junior college offensive player of the year Randy Staats. He helped lead Onondaga Community College to a national championship, but is not expected to join the team until January.
Simply put, the Orange are reloaded and ready to make another run at the national title.
Syracuse fall practice culminates on Oct. 12 with the annual Orange Alumni Classic at the Carrier Dome.Dan Brannigan