Head coach John Tillman walked into one of the best lacrosse jobs in the nation when Dave Cottle stepped down after the 2010 season. Tillman has been nothing short of spectacular since taking the reigns from Cottle as Maryland reached back-to-back National Championship game appearances before exiting in the first round of the tournament this past season. Last year’s team sees 10 important seniors leave the team, five of which started. How exactly will Tillman be replacing all these seniors? The answer comes with a heavily talented recruiting class, the No. 1 ranked recruiting in the nation specifically.
To give you perspective on the recruiting class, the Terps bring in five of the top 16 players in the nation and the No. 2 and No. 3 ranked prospects in the nation in attackmen Matt Rambo and Tim Rotanz. Finally, this class brings in nine total players from Inside Lacrosse’s Top 100 list. The loss of an experienced group of seniors couldn’t have been timed any better as Maryland brings in such a star-studded recruiting class.
The team will need Rambo and Rotanz to produce out of the gates because they lose a lot of firepower on offense.Specifically, they lose midfielders Kevin Cooper (42 pts), John Haus (28 pts), Jake Bernhardt (20 pts) and LSM Jesse Bernhardt (11 pts). Furthermore, they lose attackmen Owen Blye (30 pts) and Billy Gribin (11 pts). All those players combined to produce 142 of the 211 points scored by their top nine scorers from last season. In other words, the Terps will have to replace 67 percent of their total point production from last season.
Rotanz comes from Long Island power Shoreham Wading River where he became the fourth player in Long Island history to record 400 points in his career. Last season he scored 64 goals and handed out 77 assists. Meanwhile, Rambo comes from Pennsylvania powerhouse LaSalle College where he scored 64 goals as well and handed out 31 assists last season and was a four time First Team All-State selection. With statistics like those, it shouldn’t be out of the question for both players to put up 20-30 points this season.
As for the tough task of replacing USILA First Team All American Jesse Bernhardt on defense, the Terps will look at No. 16 ranked Mac Pons and No. 56 ranked Tim Muller. Pons and Muller come from traditional lacrosse powers in Boys’ Latin (MD) and Chaminade (NY). Obviously, they are talented and will not shy away from the shoes they will have to fill as they have played some of the toughest competition around the nation during high school.
While young and inexperienced, this class has the potential to be one of the best ever when it is all said and done. Tillman is a great coach as well and knows what to do with talent as evidenced by the two national title appearances. If they can meet some of the expectations set by this recruiting class, Maryland may be looking at a couple more National Championship game appearances in the near future.
The entire list of the talented class can be seen below.
No. 2 Matt Rambo, A, LaSalle College (PA)
No.. 3 Tim Rotanz, A, Shoreham Wading River (N.Y.)
No. 8 Colin Cannizzaro, A, Cazenovia (N.Y.)
No. 11 Colin Heacock, A, Boys’ Latin (Md.)
No. 16 Mac Pons, D, Boys’ Latin (Md.)
No. 35 Lucas Gradinger, A, Torrey Pines (Calif.)
No. 40 Daniel Morris, G, Dallas Jesuit (Tex.)
No. 56 Tim Muller, D, Chaminade (N.Y.)
No. 87 Chad Rafferty, LSM/D, Malvern Prep (Pa.)
Ben Chisolm, A, South River (Md.)
Isaiah Davis-Allen, M, St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.)
John Belz, M, Calvert Hall (Md.)
Josh Reinson, M, Montgomery (N.J.)
Wyatt Wood, M, Cathedral (Ind.)