Below is an excerpt from an Oct. 27th Inside Lacrosse Feature in which staff writers discuss the college players that have impressed them the most this Fall. Current Brown University Freshman defenseman and Penguins 2017 Adrian Enchill is highlighted in the article entitled “Staff Debate: Which Player Has Impressed You the Most This Fall?”
When looking at our fall coverage, we posed the question: Which player has impressed you the most?
Here are the answers from the staff. The responses range from familiar and expected to random and surprising. The fall staff debates — including all Fall All-Access visits — are on the #TRUEfallball page.
Dan Aburn (@Dan_Aburn)
Jared Bernhardt, A, Maryland
If Jared Bernhardt’s performances this fall are indicative of his improvement, he’ll be making a big leap come spring. He was Maryland’s most productive offensive player in their exhibition against the U.S. national team, scoring three goals and an assist. If a college sophomore can play like that against some of the world’s best, what could he do against college defenses? Both in that game and in Maryland’s open practice, his athleticism and explosive speed from X to GLE impressed. Now projecting to start on Maryland’s attack line, his quickness will provide for some match-up headaches, and it would be no surprise if his production made a noticeable jump.
Matt Kinnear (@MattKinnear)
All right, I hate to do this, but I went to several practices and scrimmages, so I feel like I have to cheat and give more than one.
Michael Sowers, A, Princeton
Purely from the standpoint of, “Oh my God this guy can’t stop scoring,” it’s Sowers. He’s going to be a superstar over the next three years of his career on the level of some of the game’s biggest ever. He loves it, too, clearly having fun out there and working well after practice to get better. His time playing box lacrosse this summer has the physical part of his game dialed in even more.
Zach Goodrich, M, Towson
Physically, he’s imposing. But, he’s truly a clear leader at Towson. He has a leadership quality that can be described as magnetic; people want to be around him and follow him.
Christian Cuccinello, A, Villanova
At times, I thought he was the best player for the Wildcats last year. This year, he’s the guy. He’s a beast, a physical presence who can score and who appears even more athletic this year. The pieces around him — though, some new faces — are great this year. He had 64 points last season, and I’d expect him to take over many of Jack Curran’s from a year ago and get that well past 80 in 2018.
Casey Rees, M, Navy
About nine months prior to fallball, Casey Rees had ACL surgery. At a recent practice, he was a star, cutting and running and scoring and doing everything you’d expect. He’s the biggest offensive piece for Navy this year, and he worked extra hard at his recovery. Folks at Navy say they’ve never seen anything like it in terms of how quickly he recovered. Watching him, there’s no hesitancy. He thrives on contact and isn’t afraid to go at it, showing no signs of caution.
Terry Foy, (@TerenceFoy)
Ben Reeves, A, Yale
The bar for “being impressed” by a Tewaaraton finalist should be higher than for a typical player, and yet Reeves cleared it. However, this judgment is based less on his execution in practice relative to all of the other players on the six teams I saw this fall, and more on how he leads his teammates and how he conducts his business as a student. For example, in a post-practice conversation with teammates Brian Tevlin and Jerry O’Connor and me, Reeves explained that, while he simply hopes he gets into medical school somewhere (the notion that he won’t being pretty much laughable because he’s surely very qualified), his top choice would be the University of Rochester — because he loves home that much. My point: in nearly all facets that I was able to see, Reeves is the type of person pretty much any coach would want on his team.
Zach Babo (@ZachBabo)
I’ve bounced around a lot this fall too, and while a lot of players have stood out or looked good, I’ll settle on two that caught my eye.
Ryan Conrad, M, Virginia
He’s probably the most recognizable player on Virginia’s roster, so I was aware of him anyway when Geoff Shannon and I headed to Charlottesville, but Conrad frequently seemed to operate a step ahead of anyone else on the field. He would be a popular pick for preseason Midfielder of the Year, and I think the biggest encumbrance to him earning that title at season’s end might be where he plays – Virginia may struggle in the ACC again, and their uptempo, two-way system will not showcase Conrad the way he’d be playing as a more traditional offensive midfielder.
Jay Drapeau, M, Loyola
Towards the end of last year, Drapeau was the second-best offensive player for the Hounds after Pat Spencer (and occasionally he may have even out-produced the Tewaaraton Finalist). He looked the part again this fall in scrimmages against UMass and Rutgers. His quick steps and bouncing dodges let him attack defenders, and he takes great angles at the cage to pressure team defenses. With big losses at offensive midfield, he’ll be looked at to produce from up top and complement Spencer below.
Kyle Devitte (@TheKyleDevitte)
Adrian Enchill, D/LSM, Brown
I had seen Enchill play at the IL Invitational last summer, so I thought I had a pretty good idea of what he was capable of. I was wrong. He’s far better at contributing to early offense than I had anticipated and he wowed me with his ability to square up, hitch, and unleash an accurate and scary-fast shot. As longpoles go, he’s one of the more skilled freshmen I’ve seen in a long time. Which is great because he’s replacing two of the better ball-handling longpoles of the last five years in Larken Kemp and Alec Tulett in the #BrownState system. The notion of plug and play replacement players is problematic, but in this case it might actually be a seamless transference of power in the Bruno murder machine.
Geoff Shannon (@Geoff_Shannon)
Tehoka Nanticoke, A, Albany
Got this far and didn’t mention the No. 1 wunderkind? Hasn’t played an official game yet and is making Sportscenter Top 10 headlines. I’ll let the video do the talking.
Patrick Spencer, A, Loyola
Loyola’s junior should be on the shortlist for Jack Turnball Award honors and, depending on how the Greyhounds’ 2018 season goes, the Tewaaraton. He’s a beast in every measure, and he elevates every player around him. After watching the team scrimmage the other day, I expect Loyola midfielder John Duffy to score 30-plus goals this year with the help of Spencer. He’s just that good.