(Photo: Charlotte Catholic Lacrosse)
In just three days, the flood gates will open for the 2024 class as the contact period for college coaches to contact juniors begins at midnight on September 1st.
After focusing on watching and analyzing as much of the 2024s below the Mason-Dixon line as possible via film and in-person when possible, here is a look at my big board, or players to watch as far as Southern 2024s go once the contact period opens. This list features 20 players and goes at least three to four deep at most positions.
*Note: 1.) This is not a ranking and only includes players who I have seen play, at least, a full game either in-person or on film this year. 2.) This list doesn’t include already committed players, whether they reclassified or committed to a service academy once that contact period opened July 1st.*
Here’s a position-by-position look at the big board:
Zach Chari, A, McCallie (Tenn.) – Helping to lead the Blue Tornado to a state championship, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound attackman asserted himself as a leader and playmaker on the offense. Knowing how to take it to the rack from X and on the wings, Chari is not afraid of contact and often uses it to his advantage. He put up 79 points off 49 goals and 25 assists this spring.
Brevin Wilson, A, Cannon School (N.C.) – The 5-foot-7 attackman has a diverse skillset that he brings to the attack spot, being able to make plays from almost anywhere on the field. He put up 55 goals and 45 assists this past spring while often showcasing his off-ball ability, finding seams in the defense to slip into on the inside, and on the backside of the play, for a score. Wilson posses a certain amount of quickness that makes him a tough cover.
Jack Ransom, A, Charlotte Catholic (N.C.) – Renown as one of the best players in the South, Ransom had a 42-point freshman campaign and built upon that even further as a sophomore with 122 points off 61 goals and 61 assists while gaining Southwest Conference Player of The Year honors. Whether guarded one-on-one in space or amidst a sea of defenders, Ransom knows how to get separation and create plays. He has one of the best shots of anyone in the class.
Peyton Booth, A, St. Anne’s Belfield (Va.) – A Charlottesville native, Booth was the first-ever eighth grader to play for STAB. After a freshman season at Calvert Hall (Md.), he headed back to his hometown. The sophomore was exceptional this past spring as he put up102 points off 60 goals and 42 assists. Booth served as the of the Saints’ top goal-scorer, making a living off the left wing where he would often set up for shots or initiated off the dodge.
Trevor Havill, A, St. Xavier (Ky.) – Widely seen as the best player in the Bluegrass State, Havill put up a whopping 122 points to help lead the Tigers to their 15th state championship this past spring. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound attackman showcases his best talents as an initiator and dodger from behind the cage at X, as well as on the wings. He consistently creates opportunities for himself to put the ball in the back of the cage.
Caden Harshbarger, M, Lake Mary (Fla.) – A dual-sport athlete also playing football, Harshbarger is as athletic as they come and one of the most highly-regarded players in the region. A big dodger, he has the ability to cause defenses trouble every time he steps on the field. He is also a menace on the faceoff wings and stout defensively, being able to run through ground balls and get going towards the offensive zone in a heartbeat.
Sean Browne, M, Episcopal School of Dallas (Texas) – A playmaker both on the basketball court and on the lacrosse field, the 6-foot-5 Browne possesses some of the best physical attributes in the class with his size and athleticism. Tallying 56 goals and 40 assists this past spring, Browne has proven to be an impressive dodger with a quick first step who can beat his man and get his hands free from almost anywhere on the field. He has also improved tremendously when it comes to making plays as a feeder.
Jackson Spells, M, Green Level (N.C.) – Spells is not new to the radar, having jumped off the page already as a freshman. Since, he has only gotten better. The 6-foot-4, 175-pound Spells is an impact player in multi facts as a two-way threat. He strives as a playmaker up top in the six-on-six as a shooter and dodger. Showcasing a strong work ethic on defense, he is dangerous and can strike in transition.
Kyle McCarthy, M, Hoggard (N.C.) – The 6-foot-3, 195-pound midfielder put up 73 points off 40 goals and 33 assist last spring whole helping to lead the Vikings to an NCHSAA 4A quarterfinals appearance. McCarthy exuberates size and strength from the midfield, proving to be a very strong downhill dodger, as well as a shooting threat and overall playmaker from up top and the high wings. He can also make an impact on the defensive end and the faceoff wings.
Bodie Kahoun, M, Patrick Henry (Va.) – Standing 6-foot-2, 195-pounds, Kahoun stands out among the rest immediately with his with his athleticism. A physical playmaker, he is an exceptionally strong downhill dodger who can really sling the rock on the run and can also be an impact on the defensive end. He is a dual-sport athlete, also playing football.
Colin Wade, D, Oxbridge (Fla.) – Starting on varsity since his seventh grade year, Wade has been on the radar for a bit longer than most in the class. As a cover man, he has very good footwork and is able to match feet and lockup his opponent. He has also shown signs of strength off-ball and with his speed can be impactful in the middle of the field when needed.
Bo Stocks, D, St. Christopher’s (Va.) – Stocks started as a freshman for a St. Christopher’s team that went to the VISAA semifinals. As a sophomore in 2022, he has just continued to be a major impact player on the back end. Stocks isn’t always the most aggressive with his body as some, but he knows how to use his stick to give his man fits and put the ball on the ground. The defenseman also runs the field quite well.
Dom Deering, D, St. Andrew’s (Fla.) – A highly energetic playmaker, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound pole is all over the field. Deering can and will get physical with his on-ball matchup, but most importantly he knows how to keep his man in front of him. He delivers timely, aggressive slides and his stick is seemingly always in the passing lane. Deering is also dangerous in the clearing game.
Ryder John, D, St. Xavier (Ky.) – At 6-foot-2, 205, John has the size and frame to give the majority of his matchups a god deal of trouble. While he is a great defender who knows how to use his body and stick on-ball and makes timely, aggressive slides, John stands out mostly for his stick skills and hustle plays. He is constantly all over the field and can make an impact upon stepping over the midline. He had 19 points (8G/11A) for the state champion Tigers this past spring.
Troy Capstraw, G, Daphne (Ala.) – The 6-foot-5, 205-pound goalie looks to be the second prime goalie prospect out of the Heart of Dixie in as many years. Capstraw naturally fills up the goal with his size, and combined with his very active style of play is hard to beat. He looks most impressive at stopping shots on the inside and off rebounds, but has shown to plug shots coming from almost anywhere on the field.
Dylan Axman, G, Middle Creek (N.C.) – Axman isn’t the biggest goalie out there at 5-foot-8, but has still shown the ability to be one of the more consistent playmakers in between the pipes out there. He made 181 saves with a 65% save percentage this past spring while leading the Mustangs to a state title. Axman has shown an array of abilities in cage, being able to stop those outside shots while also making crucial stops from inside.
John Fisher, G, Battlefield (Va.) – Proven especially good when asked to make those tougher saves in tight, Fisher has proven to be a very consistent and steady presence in cage. The 6-foot, 170-pound shot stopper helped lead the Bobcats to a 14-2 record and a Virginia 6A state title game appearance.
Ethan Kraske, FO/M, Wakefield (N.C.) – Sitting behind his older brother and current Ohio State freshman, Coleman, last spring, Kraske played as a regular midfield for Wakefield in 2022 and shined with 30 goals and 16 assists. At the faceoff dot, the junior has proven to be a nightmare matchup. Possessing a quick pinch-and-pop, he gives nearly every one of his opponents the utmost trouble.
Lad Harper, FO, Ponte Vedra (Fla.) – One of just a few sophomore All-State honorees, Harper was a dominant presence at the faceoff dot for the Sharks this past spring. Well-rounded in how he can win draws, Harper went 212-for-256 (82%) at the faceoff dot this past season.
Neel Shenoy, FO, Southlake (Texas) – Very quick hands. Shenoy went 61% and grabbed 119 ground balls this past spring with Southlake. Whether on offensive of defensive exits, he shows a lot of strength in being able to win the ball to himself and if not he’ll grind it out for the ground ball.