Categories: clam_chatter
      Date: Mar 13, 2013
     Title: College Clam Check-In: Matt Mezer
The D1 Army experience.

With more and more Clams considering Division 1 offers, the questions about what the recruiting process and the college experience are like keep coming it.  To give you some insight we reached out to our current Division 1 Clam Alumni to tell their stories.


What were your top choices for colleges when you started thinking about playing lacrosse in     college and why?

Top choices when I started thinking about playing lacrosse in college would have been Ivy League schools like Brown and Yale. I had also thought about several NESCAC schools because my older brother played at Colby. West Point entered the picture in the summer going into my senior year.
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What surprised you most about the recruiting process?
I enjoyed my visits but my process was really assisted by the staff in the Clams organization - without their help talking and gauging interests from several schools, specifically West Point, I know I would not have had as smooth a recruiting process. Five years ago when I was getting recruited most commitments weren't made until the summer going into the senior year. Before the summer tournaments started I sat down with Justin and Troy and they asked me what my ambitions were for playing lacrosse in college and I told them I wanted to play division 1. So the most surprising thing was how much Justin and the staff of the clams had helped me achieve that dream of playing at the division one level. Honestly, without them I would not be where I am right now.
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If there was one thing you'd do differently in your recruiting process, what would it be and why?
Start talking to coaches earlier just to get yourself on the radar. Coaches will give you honest feedback on where they think you stand and what you need to do to make yourself better. In terms of my recruiting process I would have studied harder and got better grades in high school because it closed several doors initially having too low of a GPA.
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What would you say was the most important part of your recruiting process and why?
The most important part is taking visits to the schools you are interested in because you need to be happy and comfortable with the institution that you will spend 4 years playing (or not playing) lacrosse at. A visit is a great opportunity to see the academic, social, and lacrosse environments that the school offers. As soon as I got on some campuses I knew this was or was not a place that interested me. Pick the brains of the players and ask tons of questions.
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What advise would you give a Clam who is about to meet a college coach on a recruiting visit for the first time?
Meeting a coach is like a mutual business exchange. You need to present yourself as a player committed to helping the team win championships. You do this starting with your appearance. If a coach has you for a visit they are already interested in recruiting you so at that point really see if its a place that you will be happy. If it's one of your 17 D1 looks or your only D1 look, ask questions, have your parents ask questions. No question is a dumb one. Asking questions shows that you want to make sure it's the best choice for you and that you care.
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What was the most surprising part of D1 lacrosse when you experienced your first week?
My experience was completely unlike any other D1 program. However, the most surprising part was just getting to know the guys and earning some respect by going as hard as you possibly can in every drill and weight room session.
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What is your daily schedule (i.e.- practice, weight room, classes, film, study halls, etc.)?
Class from 7am-3pm everyday. Practice from 3:30pm- roughly 6pm sometimes less or more depending on if we have a weight room session after practice. We will do our film sessions almost daily before practice.
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What do you like MOST about playing D1 college lacrosse?  Why?
There is so much to take away from playing division one lacrosse. Not many can actually say they've competed at the highest level their sport has to offer. No knocks to the Army football team but they aren't lining up against Alabama or LSU. It's pretty exciting to play with and against the sport's best, consistently. On top of that come the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards from the sacrifices made during the year knowing how hard you work day in and day. the daily grind will get to you, but taking a step back and reflecting on what you're doing and what you could be doing doesn't make it all that bad. I know at West Point my teammates will be my brothers for the rest of my life, it really is a unique bond having spent so much time together over the last 4-5 years you become a family.
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What do you like LEAST about playing D1 college lacrosse?  Why?
There is no way around the fact that when you commit to playing D1 you sacrifice a lot of what "college" has to offer. It was like a double or triple sacrifice going to West Point because it already eliminates the party atmosphere. The one thing which was not a deal breaker but I would have jumped at the opportunity to study abroad. With D1 lacrosse having fall and spring seasons it's impossible.
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What is the number one thing you want a D1 Clam prospect to know about playing D1 lacrosse?
I cannot stress this enough but go to a school where you would be just as happy not playing lacrosse. I have cherished my opportunity to compete everyday and play at the highest level and have been fortunate to heal and play through injuries. Many people are not as fortunate and/or quit for one reason or another. Just go to a place where you know you'll be happy regardless of your lacrosse situation. For example, for me, a large factor in recruiting was to get into the best academic institution that my grades and test scores could not get me in without lacrosse. Fortunately the premier lacrosse schools are also incredible academic institutions but don't lose sight of that, after 4 years of lacrosse you will be faced with other realities outside of the game we love.
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Go army;
Beat navy.