Top 10Maximiliano Murciano, Midfield, Gulliver Prep 2018 This midfielder showed his athleticism and skill on the fast break. On two occasions in just the half I watched his team, Murciano sped across midfield and cut through the defense to bury one past the goalie. During settled offense, he showed that he was always a threat to dodge and could successfully force the defense to rotate, opening up opportunities for himself and his teammates. Nicholas Platt, Defense, Lake Mary 2017 Platt played excellent defense against some of the top talent in the South. The Lake Mary Ram was always “on” and applying pressure, hardly sitting back and waiting for the play to come to him. I was impressed with how well Platt threw effective and controlled checks. The long pole also showed above average stick skills when he had the ball and made some good passes when clearing. Jeremy Handman, Attack, Wiregrass Ranch 2018 Jeremy showed off some great talent from the attack position. Even with such great players around him, he stood out as one of the best. Handman was a capable dodger from behind the goal and always had his head up to look for the pass to the open man up top or inside. His quick feet were evident when he dodged and his lacrosse IQ was showcased by the decisions he made. I saw him make several great passes to teammates for quality scoring opportunities and I saw him call his own number with a textbook underhand shot to beat the goalie. Ashton Wood, Midfield, Nease 2018 In the half I saw Ashton play, he went 5/5 at the faceoff X with clean wins, but he is significantly more than a FOGO. Wood stayed on the field to make smart decisions and remained a threat to dodge and score. The lanky midfielder had especially good movement away from the ball, occupying the defense. Nick Martin, Midfield, Lake Highland Prep 2017 This Highlander was another player that showed a high lacrosse IQ, which is admittedly hard to do in a showcase format where you have little to no chemistry with your teammates. In just the half in which I watched him, he had three assists, all on pinpoint passes, and a goal on a smooth shot. Martin also showed a great ability to dodge. Logan Pathman, Defense, Gulliver Prep 2017 Similar to Nicholas Platt, Pathman is an athletic pole with a high motor. Logan played aggressively without over-committing. He showed the ability to play effective one-on-one defense and cause turnovers against some great offensive players. Pathman also has the skill and toughness to get the 50/50 groundballs and spark transition going the other way. Andrew Swerdlow, Goalie, Ransom Everglades 2018 I was only able to see about half the 2017/2018 goalies because most of the teams had two goalies, each getting a half of play in each game. Swerdlow looked stellar taking shots from the best shooters in the state and the entire south. He made 3 to 4 saves that I wouldn’t expect most goalies, even ones at this caliber of a recruiting event to make. Making saves is a prerequisite for goalies, so, what made Andrew stand out was the communication and stick-work he showcased. It’s tough to lead a defense that you’ve never played with before, but Swerdlow made sure everyone could hear that he was doing his best to direct his defenders in settled situations. On top of that, this goalie made some great long passes on the clear that directly lead to fast breaks. I saw him perfectly execute the “rabbit” clear to a streaking midfielder immediately after making saves on two occasions. (side note: I don’t know if “rabbit clear” is a widely used term, but it’s what we called having a defensive midfielder break up-field as soon as the shot was taken and that man was the goalies very first look on the clear if he made the save.) Brennan Fountain, Attack, The First Academy 2018 This tall attacker showed smooth stick skills combined with athleticism. Fountain made smart decisions when he drew the slide from a dodge. While I watched, he made a couple nice dodges to the “island” from behind the goal, finishing one by himself and assisting a teammate on another. Reid Smith, Attack, Ponte Vedra 2017 Even though this Shark came up just short of a state title only a week ago, he was out working hard and showcasing his talent as usual. The attacker had a near perfect stroke for his shot and was able to dodge with the best of them. On one play, he split through two defenders and got the shot off for a goal quick enough so that the sliding defender couldn’t affect him. Smith also had a couple nice plays riding the ball and came up with a few tough groundballs in traffic. Tyler Schaffer, Defense, Nease 2017 This defender looked like the strongest kid on the field. While I watched, no one was able to get past him to the goal due to his great footwork and the strength he used to push them towards the sideline. Tyler played textbook defense and had a highlight reel play when he executed a PERFECT overhead check and snatched the ensuing groundball to force a turnover from an attackman behind the goal. Schaffer was also fast and skilled enough on the wing, playing as LSM, to come up with a couple faceoff groundballs.
Honorable MentionsAlex Alonso, Midfield, Plant 2018 Had a beautifully smooth shot with a quick release off a pass for a goal while I watched. Dominic Madlang, Midfield, Oviedo 2018 Very athletic midfielder with quick feet and fast hands. Plus, with the hair sticking out of the helmet, just looks like a lacrosse player. Anthony Bravo, Defense, Phillips Exeter Academy 2018 Physical defender that was able to clear space and come up with loose balls. Another high motor player that made a lot of plays on defense. Evan Vogel, Midfield, Buchholz 2018 Evan may have been the fastest player I saw all day. Came up with a couple groundballs while I watched and was a menace between the boxes. Sam Weis, Attack, Wando 2017 Physical attacker that’s not afraid of contact. Made a couple great plays around the crease. Had the stick skills to both make the pass under pressure and finish himself. Garritt Schwarz, Attack, Maclay 2017 Jaxson Lamb, Midfield, Oak Hall 2018 Trent Letson, Attack, Winter Springs 2017 In my opinion, these were the best players that I had the pleasure of watching play this weekend. I’m sure I missed some other phenomenal guys and, like I said, it’s just my opinion (and whether I like it or not, my opinion doesn’t matter much). Big thanks to all the guys at Team Florida, the parents, the players, and the officials for making such an event possible.