Recruits need to continuously elevate their game on the field and in the classroom. College coaches quickly recognize this drive and intensity within recruits and know it’s a crucial trait to succeed at the next level.
We spoke with Ryan Wellner of the Naval Academy about how recruits can stand out from the crowded recruiting landscape. Coach Wellner is in his third season at the Naval Academy where he works closely with Navy’s defense and also the faceoff unit. Last spring, the Midshipmen finished No. 2 in the country in caused turnovers, averaging 10 per game thanks to a strong defensive unit.
What advice do you have for players interested in Division I schools?
Players who are seriously interested in playing Division I lacrosse need to identify the type of school they are looking for. Whether it is location, size, academic rigors, go through all the necessary steps to ensure a confident decision. While still in high school continue to hone your craft. Work on your skills and always give a great effort. Guys who consistently give a great effort both on and off the field separate themselves from the pack and will get noticed by college coaches.
What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?
College coaches are looking for recruits that display 100% commitment. It is important to buy into the school and the team’s system or coaching philosophy. Be proactive in messages coaches and be direct and honest about what you expect out of your college experience. As coaches, we want to see your academic information so be sure to include all scores and grades so that we can give a truthful answer of whether or not you are a candidate for a specific school.
What type of player’s do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?
Colleges can’t teach athleticism, so training on your own in addition to your team commitments is key. Coaches look for competitors, guys who have that killer instinct to go out and make a play and help the team’s chances of winning. Guys who have innate ability usually translate well at the college level because most Division I school’s have great coaching staffs that really know and love the game of lacrosse. However, there are certain skills a Division I lacrosse player needs to have such as catching and shooting with both hands, having a high lacrosse IQ and moving well without the ball.
What areas of player development would you recommend players to focus on?
Footwork, footwork, footwork. Players with great footwork find it much easier to transition at the collegiate level because of the ability to blow by their opponent and create space for themselves and their teammates. Also, agility training is huge. Making sure you maximize your athletic abilities can make a huge difference. Lacrosse is all about conditioning and running so do agility workouts and run everyday to build up stamina and endurance.
How has the accelerated recruiting landscape impacted your approach to recruiting?
Most Division I schools have followed each other in recruiting younger players. Even if a coach doesn’t like it, if his competitors are doing it, he doesn’t have much of a chance, as he doesn’t want to miss out on potential recruits. I do believe there are several schools that remain committed to recruiting just juniors but as time goes by those will be few and far between. It’s almost unfair for an 8th/9th grader to be pressured to make such an important decision so the best advice I can give to recruits is when making this decision make sure your really fall in love with the school. Realize that college is a 40-year decision not a 4-year decision so when making your college selection understand your commitment and be confident in your decision.
ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by the Naval Academy or Ryan Wellner.