The Syracuse Orange are currently in the midst of one of their best fall sports seasons in years, but today we’re taking a brief interlude to talk men’s lacrosse recruiting.
September 1 marked the official start of recruiting season for the Class of 2024, who are currently high school juniors.
With a loaded (to say the least) 2022 class made up of 15 players and a solid follow-up from the Class of 2023 (11 players), 2024 was not expected to be a big haul for SU with so many resources being put into the previous two classes, but Gary Gait and staff have done quite well for themselves in the first month and a half of this recruiting period.
Before we get to the 2024’s, let’s start with the most recent commitment from last week:
Class of 2023
While the main focus of this fall has been the current juniors, last week brought news of a senior making his commitment to SU.
That senior just so happened to be Brett Bucktooth Jr., the son of two-time Orange All-American Brett Bucktooth.
For Orange fans of a certain age (myself included), the news that Brett Bucktooth Jr. is committing to Syracuse brings a mixture of excitement and horror, the latter due to the fact that it’s scary to think that Brett Bucktooth, who himself only graduated back in 2006, already has a son committing to his college destination. But if a college commitment is going to make me feel old, then I’m glad it was to SU. And if Brett Jr. is anything like his dad, then I’ll be extra glad to feel old.
Brett is joining a class that largely committed during the same period last fall. The makeup goes like this: 11 total players, eight four-stars, two Top-50 (subject to change).
They’re headlined by Donny Scott, a physical, strong 1-on-1 cover defender out of the Hill Academy in Ontario who’s ranked No. 21 overall in the class, and Trey Deere, a stud attackman from the Salisbury School in Connecticut who’s ranked No. 43 overall. Deere is a primarily off-ball attackman with incredibly quick hands a natural ability for finding the back of the net when the ball is in his cross. He’ll be a perfect compliment to Joey Spallina and Owen Hiltz when he arrives next year.
The rest of the class is highlighted by Joey’s younger twin brothers Jake Spallina and Brett Spallina, Stevie Finnell, a four-star middie from Garden City, and Tucker Kellogg, one of the best shooters out of the midfield in the entire class.
Class of 2024
So, now we arrive back at the current juniors. The Orange have secured commitments from eight players so far this fall. It’s a solid number that becomes even more impressive when we see that they include one five-star and five four-stars.
The headliner is Payton Anderson, a five-star A/M from the Brunswick School in Greenwich. Payton is a big, physical player who’s ranked No. 11 overall in the class. From what I’ve heard, by the time this class arrives on campus in two years, he’ll be ranked even higher than that. And who among us isn't going to love a player nicknamed ‘Bear’?
No. 11 junior Payton ‘Bear’ Anderson ‘24, A/M, Brunswick (Conn.) / @PrimeTimeLax08 has committed to @CuseMLAX. A big, bruising athlete who plays middie for @Wick_Lax and attack for PT, the lefty dominated the end of the summer after returning from injury. https://t.co/Umu0qBwVjV pic.twitter.com/mmzGdRGgHk— Ty Xanders (@tyxanders) September 13, 2022
He’s joined by a strong, well-rounded group that includes Matthew McIntee, a four-star midfielder from East Islip who’s ranked No. 45 overall in the class. He’s joined by fellow four-stars in middle Koby White, defenders Dillon Stephens and Vincent Bolognino, and goalie Brayden Ferguson.
And I’ll leave the rest of the analysis to Inside Lacrosse’s recruiting expert, Ty Xanders:
IL’s No. 45 junior Matthew McIntee ‘24, M, East Islip (N.Y.) / @legacylacrosse, @TrueBlue_Lax has committed to @CuseMLAX. With strong bloodlines and a high level of athleticism, McIntee impacts a game all over the field and has big upside. https://t.co/YeonDeiKig pic.twitter.com/8PFKAV4T2K— Ty Xanders (@tyxanders) October 5, 2022
4 ⭐️ junior Dillon Stephens ‘24, D, New Canaan (Conn.) / @EclipseLacrosse has committed to @CuseMLAX. Coming on strong in the spring and summer as a formidable cover man, Stephens checks hard and has a big ACC-ready frame. https://t.co/Z9VKkJpo78 pic.twitter.com/AqAv9D8iTh— Ty Xanders (@tyxanders) September 26, 2022
4⭐️ junior Vincent Bolognino '24, LSM/D, Harborfields (N.Y.) / @team91lacrosse has committed to @CuseMLAX. Giving another gritty LI public school kid, Bolognino is among the top LSM's in the class, impressing with his 1-on-1 play, footwork and motor. https://t.co/QGb2qKd2t1 pic.twitter.com/8i69o0gLC1— Ty Xanders (@tyxanders) September 12, 2022
So, as the future continues to take shape for ‘Cuse men’s lacrosse, the present is whipping themselves into shape during fall ball. The Orange are going to be completely new-look all over the field come spring, and speaking of Ty Xanders, he was the author of the final edition of the Class of 2022 Power 100 Rankings released on IL earlier this week.
As we already know, no school was better represented than Syracuse on that list. SU led all schools with 10 players, five five-stars, and five four-stars.
The five-star players all came in ranked in the Top-20: No. 1, A, Joey Spallina, No. 5, A, Finn Thomson, No. 6, D, Riley Figueiras, No. 11, D, Billy Dwan, No. 20, G, Jimmy McCool.
The four-stars were not too far behind in the rankings, themselves: No. 24, M, Luke Rhoa, No. 26, M, Michael Leo, No. 38, LSM/SSDM, Dylan Sageder, No. 44, M, Carter Kempney, No. 74, SSDM, Vinnie Trujillo.
There’s much work to be done to turn SU around coming off it’s worst season in program history this past year. We don’t know how long that turn-around will take, but if what we’re seeing in recruiting is any indication, this should be fun to watch.