Marblehead boys lacrosse coach John Wilkens remembers how it used to be.
Wilkins played Division 1 college lacrosse at Johns Hopkins University in the late 1980s, winning a national title as a sophomore in 1987. Now that he’s a head high school coach, he can see how the path to big-time college lacrosse has changed.
“Recruiting has changed a lot. College coaches don’t go to high school games; everything happens in the summertime at these showcases. Depending on how many you go to and how you perform, that’s how you’re seen,” said Wilkens, who was also on a national title runner-up Johns Hopkins team as a senior.
“In my senior year (of high school) that’s when it was done. Now, it’s stepped back into the 10th and 11th grade. I went on all my recruiting trips usually in the fall of senior year. Coaches would come to your lacrosse games and you’d get seen at camps; it was a lot later in the process. It was probably a little simpler.”
Lacrosse seems to be an ever-evolving sport, however, and many local players are taking advantage of the early recruiting. One of Wilkens’ own players -- Marblehead junior midfielder Brooks Tyrrell -- committed to Notre Dame in September.
Hamilton-Wenham sophomore long-stick midfielder Cam Macri has made a verbal commitment to the University of North Carolina, also in September. St. John’s Prep’s Drew O’Connell, who is now a senior, made a similar commitment to Princeton University as a sophomore.
“Recruiting starts very early nowadays. It started (for me) in the summer with recruiting camps,” the 16-year-old Macri said. “The coaches from UNC, Duke and Johns Hopkins contacted my club lacrosse coach and told him I should give them a call. That’s really how the communication started.”