(Photo Courtesy of Hill Plunkett/Instagram)
*Note: This list is not a ranking and contains only players I have seen play full games in person or on film thus far. If I have not watched a player yet, they will not be on this list.*
On September 1st, 2021, college coaches will be hitting up the phones of 2023 recruits across the country. July 1st for service academies (Army, Air Force, Navy).
So with the 2021 season in the books across the region, here is a look at some of the sophomores from around the South that stood out this past spring.
Hill Plunkett, Attack, Roswell (Ga.) – Alongside his older brother, Evan, who is headed to West Point this fall, the third-team all-state attackman has been one of the stars of a very strong Roswell team this spring. Plunkett has a heavy presence as a tradition X attackman dodging and feeing from behind the cage, as well as being able to get to the island and make plays. He also showed an impressive amount of hustle and grit in the riding game multiple times this spring.
Alex Lobel, Attack, Roswell (Ga.) – Along with the aforementioned Plunkett, the lefty Lobel helped make up that strong Roswell offense. A second-team all-state selection, Lobel etched his name into the 100 club this season for career points as he continued to showcase his ability to be not only a goal scoring machine at times, but also a playmaker as a feeder.
Liam West, Attack, Apex (N.C.) – A natural attackman, West is certainly more comfortable operating from behind the cage at ‘X’ and on the wings as a fairly speedy dodger and shooter. However, he has shown the ability to make some noise from up top if needed. He helped Apex to a 9-3 record, losing in the first round of the 4A State Tournament to Cardinal Gibbons, and put up an impressive 31 points (20G/11A) during the regular season.
Collin Patrick, Attack, Middle Creek (N.C.) – A gritty playmaker, the sophomore plays with a sort of toughness to his game. He isn’t afraid of contact and can get into those dirty areas around the crease and make plays with his elite finishing skills. Additionally, he is a pretty fluid dodger and has the ability and to be a strong passer. He put up 23 goals and 13 assists while leading Middle Creek to an 11-0 regular season record. The Mustangs fell to Cardinal Gibbons in the second round.
Cameron Martin, Attack, Dallas Jesuit (Texas) – I was able to watch Martin play in-person when the Rangers came up to Louisville to play Trinity (Ky.) earlier this week. Martin looked like the best player on the field for stretches during that contest and showed off a skillset that any college coach would love to see. He is nearly the complete package as far as scoring off the dodge is concerned. Netting a first-half hat trick in the game, he scored off a roll back from up top, a wrap around goal from ‘X’, and a low-angle snipe on the back pipe off a 10-plus yard feed.
Jack Schulte, Attack, St. Andrew’s (Fla.) – The Scots are off to a 9-0 start and Schulte has asserted himself as the leader on the offensive end of the field. A pure shooter, the sophomore has put up 22 goals through this point in the season. he also has nine assists for 31 points through the first nine games of the season.
Turner Ashby, Attack/Midfield, Plant (Fla.) – Helping lead Plant to a 21-2 record this spring with their only losses coming to state power Ponte Vedra and eventual champion Jupiter, Ashby was one of the most impressive players in the 2023 class in the Sunshine State this season. The 6-foot, 175-pound offensive weapon consistently makes the right decisions and has shown to be dangerous as either a passer of a shooter from multiple spots on the field. He is very much a tweener and could see success at either midfield or attack at the next level with his diverse skillset that he has shown off and continues to improve this season.
Evan Mason, Attack/Midfield, South Oldham (Ky.) – One of the most productive players in the Bluegrass State, Mason was been dominant for the Dragons all season and helped lead them to a KSLL semifinal appearance. An off-ball threat, Mason started the season with back-to-back five and six goal performances. He has continued to look good and should see his stock rise this this season as one of the leaders of perhaps the best South Oldham team of all-time.
Henry Mercer, Midfield, St. Xavier (Ky.) – A speedster, the lefty has shown the ability to make an impact from multiple spots on the field. While he appears much more comfortable in that traditional outside shooing midfield role, he can also do some damage as an off-ball guy on the inside, and as a dodger on both the wings, up top.
Aidan Wooley, Midfield, Westminster (Ga.) – Being able to watch Wooley and his Westminster team on film multiple times this spring, the 6-foot, 175-pound midfielder was one of the more impressive players that I’ve seen out of the Peach State in this class. Whether he has the ball in his stick or not, Wooley always seems to be in the right spot. Not only can he use his speed and athleticism to beat his defenseman and get to the rack off the dodge, but he has great vision as a feeder, and finds success with his uncanny ability to cut to the crease and finish off-ball.
Maddox Johnson, Attack/Midfield, Ponte Vedra (Fla.) – With a team-high 49 goals to his name this past season, Johnson was one of the leaders of the Sharks’ offense and had further cemented himself as one of the best offensive weapons in his class in the Sunshine State, and South in general. Along with a beautiful, textbook shooting stroke Johnson possesses a diverse skillset as a dodger that could translate well at either the attack or midfield position at the next level.
Jack Spellman, Faceoff, Montgomery Bell (Tenn.) – The sophomore was a consistent force at the dot for Montgomery Bell all year. Spellman went 36-for-60 (60%) at the dot this season to help lead Montgomery Bell to a state title. I was able to see him in person when they traveled up to Louisville in early March and it wasn’t hard to tell just how impactful he was for his team.
Rogan Kane, Faceoff, Plant (Fla.) – Kane was huge for the Panthers this spring, and proved to be the X-factor for his team multiple times this season. He went 269-for-369 (72%) as the Panthers’ primary option at the dot this spring and helped lead them to a semifinal appearance.
Owen McCallister, Defense/LSM, Charlotte Catholic (N.C.) – The 5-foot-10, 150-pound pole is one of the most versatile players I have watched all season. A strong on-ball defender and takeaway artist, McCallister can be a pest for opposing offensive players. Additionally, he can spark transition offense, is solid off the ground, and has taken faceoffs.
Jackson Campisano, Defense/LSM, St. Xavier (Ky.) – Likely projecting more as an LSM at the college level, Campisano might be the best athlete currently grazing the lacrosse field in the Bluegrass State. He is a Great ground ball and transition guy, and can put the ball on the ground at an impressive rate and knows how to use his body. Against national power Culver (Ind.), the sophomore really shined, especially when matched up against Duke midfield signee Jackson Gray, taking his cookies multiple times.
Ben Willis, Goalie, Christian Brothers (Tenn.) – Serving as the starter for the Purple Wave since his freshman season in 2020, Willis as asserted himself as one of the top sophomore’s in between the pipes in the Volunteer State. Notching 188 saves with a 60% save percentage, the sophomore anchored a defense that allowed an average of 8.4 goals per game and helped lead the Puprle Wave to a state title game appearance.
Ben Abel, Goalie, Highland Park (Texas) – Anchoring a tough Highland Park defense, Abel helped lead the Scots to an THSLL state title game and emerged as one of the best goalies in the state and region this past season. Showing the ability to be a consistent presence in cage and come up huge on an almost nightly basis, the sophomore impressed each and every time I was able to see him play this season. He not only looks comfortable in between the pipes and can make life very difficult for the opposing offense.