An incredible number of Florida players have been recruited by Kirk Rogers, director of lacrosse operations at Young Harris College.
Coach Rogers was kind enough to give us a little time and answer some questions about his new program.
IFL – Coach, how is the recruiting going up in the “Enchanted Valley.”
Rogers – I am very excited about the class that we were able to get for this inaugural season. We recruited nationally and have some very talented kids from hotbeds like NY, PA, VA, and NH. A large chuck of our team will be from Florida though.
These are the eight Floridians who will be heading across the border;
Matthew Amell – Bartram Trail F/O, M
Chris Campaneria – Nease M
Kyle Henize – Coral Reef LSM (Soph)
Rene Mata – Timber Creek M
Mason McBroom – Timber Creek M
Patrick Moran – Timber Creek D
Phillip Robertson – Bartram Trail D
Tanner Shepardson – Lake Highland Prep D
IFL – What kind of expectations do you have for these Florida boys?
Rogers – I expect them to contribute significantly to our team and I hope to continue the pipeline that we have established. I am a Floridian so I might be a little biased, but I definitely believe that Florida is the next hotbed. When I played, hardly any Floridians went to play college ball, more recently college coaches would take one or two Florida kids on their roster and they would be successful. I think we are getting to the point where you could have a team with a base of Floridians and be very successful, especially at the Division II level where Young Harris competes.
IFL – When will your program begin competition?
Rogers- We are starting competition in Spring 2013 and will be playing a full Division II schedule. We will be playing some games down in Florida in April. This season we will carry a roster between 25-30 players. I still have a couple of roster spots available for some graduated seniors that haven’t figured out where they are going. For the Class of 2013, I am looking to bring in between 15-20 players.
IFL – What is your recruiting schedule like this summer?
Rogers – I will be at many tournaments this summer. This is my current schedule, but if someone contacts me about another tournament that they are playing in and I can fit it in, I would definitely try to see them play.
Team Florida Tryouts – Jupiter, Fl
Spring Fever – Atlanta, GA
Under Armour All-American South Tryout – Lovett, GA
Rocket City Blast – Huntsville, AL
LB3 Summer Jam – Kennesaw, GA
Big South Challenge – Charlotte, NC
Southern Combat Invite – Rome, GA
Mid-Summer Classic – Greensboro, NC
Southern Select – Misenheimer, NC
King of the Hill – McDaniel, MD
Summer Slam – Philadelphia, PA
Gait Cup (Session 1 +2) – Gettysburg, PA
UA Underclassmen Tournament – Baltimore, MD
National Lacrosse Classic – Baltimore, MD
Bison Brawl – Lewisburg, PA
Brine Shootout (Session 1 +2) – Baltimore, MD
Warrior Summer Sizzle – Baltimore, MD
Champ Camp – Baltimore, MD
Battle of the Hotbeds – Newark, DE
John Pepper – Syracuse, NY
Lake Placid – Lake Placid, NY
IFL – How have you been successful coaxing some of the Floridians to come up to Young Harris?
Rogers – I think there are a number of reasons why we have been so successful in recruiting Florida players. First and foremost, we provide a great education and the atmosphere for education on campus is outstanding. Everyone is part of a big Young Harris family. People, from the students to the president to the janitors, seem genuinely happy about being in “the enchanted valley” Alumni and boosters love the school and the opportunities it gave them in the past and have been generous enough to donate over 90 million dollars in recent years, which is allowing us to have some of the best facilities in the southeast. Our location is also paramount. More Floridians live in our county than Georgians, because it is a popular vacation destination. Young Harris is one of the closest places you can go north from Florida and experience seasons and changes in temperature. That said, we are far enough south to enjoy the mountains without it being too cold. For a Floridian that wants to have a change, it is a great option.
Our location is also an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. We have 2 popular water sports and fishing lakes within 10 minutes away (Lake Chatuge and Lake Nottley). Lake Chatuge even has a cable park for wakeboarding and a beach. We are nestled between 3 National Forests – Chattahoochie, Nantahala, and Cherokee. They provide some great hunting and hiking opportunities. A trail from the back of campus leads 6 miles to the highest point in the state of Georgia. Mountain biking at Jackrabbit Mountain is very popular. Rock Climbing is close by at Mount Yonah and Pickens Nose. Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking is available less than an hour away at the Nantahala River and the Ocoee River. Even with all these great outdoor possibilities, we are still only 2 hours from Atlanta, Chattanooga, Greenville, and Asheville. A very popular and niche major for Young Harris is Outdoor Leadership (www.yhc.edu/outdoorleadership) For someone who likes being outdoors and doesn’t want to spend the rest of their life in a cubicle, this is the major for you!
Another important aspect is the financial support that we receive. Being NCAA Division II, we are allowed to give athletic scholarships, but we also award great academic and need-based scholarships. We have an Honors Program that awards scholarships to its members as well. In addition to this money, YHC also accepts money from the Florida Prepaid Scholarship program and is in the process of beginning a Bright Futures equivalency scholarship.
IFL – What should a player do if he is interested in playing and educational opportunities at Young Harris?
Rogers – If a player is interested in playing at Young Harris, I would definitely recommend them getting in contact with me and staying proactive in the whole process. I see a bunch of players at every tournament and the more E-mails and phone calls that I get from a player, the more memorable they become. We also ask that they fill out a recruiting questionnaire available at a link on our YHC athletics website
If anyone has any questions or would like to contact me, my E-mail is email@example.com and my phone number is 321-356-6487