When Inside Lacrosse released its annual recruiting rankings last week, it was yet another indication of the changing landscape of college lacrosse. The magazine positioned Syracuse’s 2016-2017 class outside of the top 10—at 12.
The Orange’s ACC foes—Duke, Virginia, North Carolina and Notre Dame—earned the top four spots, in that order, in the rankings. Longtime rival Johns Hopkins’ class was ranked fifth. Denver, Maryland, Harvard, Penn State, Brown and Yale also came in ahead of Syracuse.
Inside Lacrosse rated only four Syracuse players within its Power 100, and only six were named to positional rankings.
While the sport, in general, has grown exponentially across the country, so too have the number of quality college programs. There are more prospects, but there’s more competition for them as well.
Since the magazine began releasing recruiting rankings in 1997, only once before has it rated the Orange’s class outside of the top 10. That was the 2014-2015 incoming class, when only two players made the Power 100 list: long-stick middie Austin Fusco (#58) and middie Brad McKinney (#60).
But Syracuse fans shouldn’t freak out.
The magazine doesn’t account for transfers, an area that has become an increasingly important part of the game and something in which Syracuse has excelled in recent years.
The Orange are welcoming transfers from Denver, Johns Hopkins and Lafayette. Brendan Bomberry, a junior midfielder, is likely to be the biggest catch of all the new additions. Bomberry recorded 33 points (19 g, 14 a) for Denver last season—11 of which were man-up goals.
Rob Orazietti, a senior midfielder who finished second on Lafayette with 20 goals, could make immediate contributions too. Henry Grass, a sophomore attack, didn’t get any playing time with Johns Hopkins last year, but he was the #38-ranked freshman by Inside Lacrosse coming out of Bronxville, N.Y.
In recent years, Syracuse has added impact players via transfer, including face-off specialist Ben Williams, midfielder Tim Barber, goalie Warren Hill, attack Nick Mariano and more.
This 2016-2017 freshman class features three of the country’s top-12 incoming midfielders, one of the top-four incoming defensemen and the second-ranked goaltender. Combined with the transfers, the Orange should be able to count the recruiting season as a success.
Today’s college lacrosse recruiting landscape may be much more competitive than years past, but the transfer market is just as important to a program’s success.