College commitments often take the pressure off high school student-athletes. St. John’s Prep sophomore Drew O’Connell finds himself in a slightly different situation.
O’Connell is currently on the path to continue his lacrosse career at Princeton University, in essence having verbally committed to become a Tiger upon graduating from St. John’s in 2014.
That doesn’t mean O’Connell can relax. Far from it.
Technically, O’Connell has committed to the admissions process. Obviously, Princeton has very high standards, both academically as an Ivy League institution and athletically when it comes to lacrosse.
Over the next two years O’Connell has to continue thriving in the classroom and on the field, or his Princeton opportunity could slip away.
“In the back of my mind I know that I can’t mess up,” O’Connell said. “Look at the opportunity in front of me ... if I did something to mess up, like getting in trouble or failing a class, then I couldn’t forgive myself. I would just be throwing something away that would have shaped my life in a totally new direction that most people don’t get the chance to have.”
O’Connell stormed onto the scene at the Prep as a freshman in 2011, registering 35 points for a Division 1 state finalist, playing on a midfield line with his older brother Jimmy O’Connell.
This season, O’Connell became the Eagles’ biggest threat, always drawing the opponents’ toughest defensive player.
O’Connell has made an equally impressive mark academically at St. John’s. He takes all honors and Advanced Placement classes and maintains a 4.13 GPA. He’s also a member of the National Honor Society.
His commitment to both academics and athletics makes Princeton a perfect target for O’Connell.
“I’ve always dreamed of playing at Gillette Stadium in the (NCAA) Final Four,” O’Connell said. “I’ll be going to a place that offers that opportunity while giving me a great education. It’s the ideal school.”