Categories: clam_chatter
      Date: Jan 12, 2011
     Title: Two Clams commit to top 20 D1 programs
Announcing two D1 commitments within same week is great; to top 20 programs, even better

In the last couple weeks, two of our top 2012 players have committed to programs that are perenially among the country's best. Truth be told, the first I have known about for a little while, but as a way of erring on the side of caution, the announcement has been held close to the vest. However, based on a conversation last week with this young man, and an ensuing conversation with his coaches-to-be (and also his coaches-who-could-have-been), I now have no doubt that announcement time is here.

The first of the two commitments came from Chris Coady (repeat junior, BB&N), and his circuitous commitment process has been a real study in the state of the recruiting process now.

Chris's process began all the way back last spring. An extremely athletic defenseman player still polishing up his skills heading into his junior year at St. Johns Prep, it took a couple long sit-down meetings over the winter before the Coady's reached the decision that indeed a repeat junior year would be a good idea. Sure there was an element of risk. As is the case with all repeat or PG years, they are never guaranteed to better your circumstances. But given all that Chris had going for him (both in the classroom and on the playing field) I advised Chris as I felt appropriate at the time: that a repeat or PG year would better his chances at fulfilling his aspirations to play D1 lacrosse at a strong academic college. But even I could not have predicted the way the coming months would go for Chris.   

After that, it all started to click. Chris has a breakout junior year at close defense for the eventual State Champions St. Johns Prep. During that time, he firmed up his grades to make him an even better candidate for strong college placement. And then came the summer, which was as wild a frenzy for a single player as I can recall. Almost soon as Chris stepped foot on the field at the Tri State Mid Summer Classic, my phone began buzzing in my pocket with texts. This only accelerated at the Brine UMBC Shootout, based of course on Chris's play, and also on the fact that our team advanced to the Championship there. Seeing that this UMBC Shootout is generally regarded as the Grandaddy of all Summer Team Tournaments, this was quite an accomplishment.

By the time the summer concluded, the Coady's and/or I had heard from Syracuse, Princeton, Duke & Siena about Chris. Shortly into the fall the list grew to include Harvard, Brown and Notre Dame, among others. The persistence with which Chris was pursued really was both fascinating, and certainly exciting.

But in the end, after much consideration, Chris chose Duke for all the right reasons. He loved his visit. He really liked the players on the team. He liked the coaches. Chris did not jump at the first offer or the second or third. He participated in the process the right way. And to the best of his ability, he and his father did their due diligence to ensure Chris has committed to the right school and program. And in so doing, Chris follows in the footsteps of the player largely considered the best Clam to come through the program: Max Quinzani. Huge shoes to fill indeed. But Chris has as good a shot as anyone!


And I don't mean in any way for announcement #2 to be overshadowed. But after the length of the preceeding writeup, I fear that it inadvertently might be. Yet make no mistake, we here at Top Gun are every bit as proud of Conor Helfrich's (junior attackman, Lawrence) commitment to the University of Delaware as we are of Chris Coady's to Duke. And Conor, too, had his share of options before he chose Delaware (as well he should have - Conor is going to be a very strong collegiate player).

Througout the fall, Conor, a newcomer to our program, really burst onto the scene, displaying arguably the most explosive scoring pop of any of our attackman. In many ways, when Conor wanted to score, he did so.

Clearly this caught the eye of the University of Delaware coaching staff, who watched us very closely at the Hofstra Blue and Gold tournament on 11/14. Interestingly, in what you might refer to as an example of in-program synchronicity, the Delaware staff was actually glued to our team primarily to make a decision on another junior who is now also committed to the University of Delaware: Will Ryan. But while scrutinizing Will's play, Coach Brazel could not help but notice Conor's ability. And by the time Coach Brazel's texts came in at the end of day, it was very much about both Will and Conor, who had each thoroughly impressed.

The range of schools who had extended interest in Conor ranged from Harvard, Princeton & Brown all the way through Hartford, Providence, St. Johns and Holy Cross (among others). But after his recent visit to Holy Cross, Conor and his parents felt they had seen all the additional options they needed. No visit had impressed Conor the way U Del had impressed him. And with surprisingly little reluctance in the end (a good sign in most cases), Conor decided to make his decision. Said the text on January 10th at 3:26PM "Just called Shillinglaw...told him I'd like to a Blue Hen".


With these two commitments, our total from last summer's teams stands at 27. And while our 2012 commitments now stand at six, we seem to be reaching a high point for players with numerous options either having to announce their intentions, or wait a while longer if they choose to chase their Ivy League or NESCAC options.

Here are all of our Clams from either last summer or this fall who have committed, and the college program they have chosen. As always, our congratulations extend to all!

Chris Coady, defense, Buckingham, Browne, & Nichols - DUKE UNIVERSITY

University of Delaware logo
Conor Helfrich, attack, Lawrence Academy - UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE


Quinnipiac logo
Chris Williams, midfield, Duxbury High School - QUINNIPIAC

Jake Vogl, midfield, Aquinas Institute - UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

Franklin & Marshall logo
Will Ballantyne, attack, Hopkinton High School - FRANKLIN & MARSHALL

Geoffrey Kennedy, attack, Gloucester High School - SAINT ANSELM COLLEGE

University of Delaware logo
Will Ryan, goalie, Avon Old Farms - UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE

Chase Williams, LSM, The Rivers School - UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT

Rory Finnegan, goalie, Lowell High School - VIRGINIA WESLEYAN

Paul Hellar, attack, Duxbury High School - FAIRFIELD UNIVERSITY

Colin Rossano, attack, Pingree School - ROANOKE COLLEGE

Chris Garibaldi, midfield, Salisbury School - UNION COLLEGE

Pete Willauer, defense, Duxbury HS - COLBY COLLEGE

Derek Youngman, attack/midfield, Thayer Academy - COLBY COLLEGE

Brendan McNeill, attack/midfield, The Rivers School - COLBY COLLEGE

Jimmy O'Connell, midfield, St. John's Prep - TRINITY COLLEGE

Mark MacDonald, midfield/FOGO, St. John's Prep - SACRED HEART

Charlie Finnegan, defense/LSM, Thayer Academy - TRINITY COLLEGE

Tommy Rehnert, defense/LSM, The Rivers School - AIR FORCE

Matt Scalise, attack, St. John's Prep - HARVARD  UNIVERSITY

Ryan Breen, defense/LSM, Phillips Exeter/Taft - LAFAYETTE UNIVERSITY

Matt Thistle, attack, Bishop Guertin HS - MANHATTAN UNIVERSITY

Jimmy Murphy, attack, Brewster Academy - UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

Murph Vandervelde, midfield, St. Sebastian's School - HARVARD  UNIVERSITY

Tanner Powers, defense, The Rivers School - UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT

Will Walker, attack, Phillips Andover - HARVARD  UNIVERSITY

Conor Fraylick, goalie, Pleasantville HS - FAIRFIELD UNIVERSITY