The Terrapins men’s lacrosse team held an open practice Tuesday morning, giving media their first look at a highly touted freshman recruiting class that Inside Lacrosse ranked No. 1 in the country.
The Terps secured the No. 2 and No. 3 overall recruits in attackmen Matt Rambo and Tim Rotanz while also adding depth on defense with Mac Pons, the No. 16 overall recruit. Other members of the recruiting class include attackmen Connor Cannizzaro, Colin Heacock and Lucas Gradinger, defenders Tim Muller and Chad Rafferty and goalie Dan Morris.
“This class and all our younger guys are just extremely talented,” midfielder Mike Chanenchuk said. “They’re really hard-working kids, too, which fits into our program.”
Coach John Tillman said he is impressed with the level of play from his group of freshman so far this fall, but he’s been even more impressed with how the rookies have integrated themselves with the team.
“The younger guys have come in very humble and said ‘all right, we’re going to listen to the older players and do what they ask us to do,’” Tillman said. “They’ve really trusted them and I really think that’s helped us a group because everybody realizes that we’re going to need every guy on this roster to compete every day.”
Tillman ran an upbeat practice with constant energy and movement in an effort to simulate a game atmosphere. He also incorporated a great deal of competition in his drills to add incentive for his players to leave as much of on the field as possible.
“We want to infuse a little bit of fun, but not take away from our focus and our ability to compete and know where we need to get to,” Tillman said. “A little bit a fun goes a long way with these guys. And fun can take on a lot of meanings, but sometimes fun for these guys is winning something.”
Tillman said there are still a lot of vacant positions and that many of the talented freshmen have a shot at earning substantial playing time, but he won’t be able to make any decisions until the end of December or January.
But without a scheduled scrimmage in the fall, Tillman will be forced to make those judgments through his observations in practice.
“One of the things we’ve found so far is that without that big day there might be a little bit more of a sense of ‘let’s make the most of each day,’” Tillman said. “You can earn more playing time or grow more as a player just through practice because that’s really all we have.”
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