It all starts this week for the class of 2023.
After arguably the most event-packed summer in the history of club lacrosse, Sept. 1 is upon us. Service academies already got a head start with being able to recruit on July 1, which resulted in a handful of commitments, but for everyone else, Wednesday at midnight opens the recruiting process for the ’23 class.
This is our second ranking for the ’23 class. As we continue to scout the class more and more, we aim to expand the rankings. This one is the biggest ranking NLFRankings.com has ever undertaken, stretching out to represent the top 100 players in the country.
Contrary to most of our previous rankings, this one is open to all players as we aim to give the most comprehensive recruiting coverage. That means five and four stars will be included, along with a numerical ranking for every player on a 1-100 scale. If you click on a player’s name, you’ll be taken to his personal profile, where you can find player info, accolades, highlight reels and much more.
The NLF Rankings are compiled with the help of multiple college coaches, club coaches, high school coaches, professional players and other various sources. They are the aggregate of multiple opinions, based off how players performed for their high school teams, club teams and at a wealth of different showcases.
Millon played one game this summer – he was excellent against a very good Next Level team – before breaking his hand at a showcase and subsequently missing the rest of his schedule. It doesn’t matter. He’s still the best player in the class, something that he proved by posting a well-balanced 28-goal, 26-assist stat line for MIAA power McDonogh. His father, Hall of Famer Mark Millon, says, ““He’s so much better than I was at that age.”
In a class relatively low on elite QB types, Millon stands out for his ability to do a little bit of everything. He can dodge from anywhere on the field. He can score righty or lefty. You want to bring him out of the box? Sure, why not?
Hoffman was fantastic all summer long for the Team 91 Bandits. His speed, agility and athleticism all stand out as elite, but his compete level and all-out, all-the-time disposition really separate him from the pack.
“Hoffman plays with a different passion,” one college head coach said.
Indeed. He had a good spring for Brunswick, starting on a loaded Bruins team. He’s a one-man clear and is a lethal offensive threat in transition. When he puts his foot in the ground, he’s gone. Hoffman isn’t the biggest midfielder, but he plays big, completely unafraid of going for a ground ball or throwing a check. He was the offensive MVP of the One Percent Showcase All-Star Game, yet it was something beyond his offensive arsenal that stood out the most.
Nobody had a better start to the summer than Duffy, and that came on the heels of an excellent sophomore campaign for a stacked St. Anthony’s team. Posting a balanced 25-goal, 24-assist stat line highlighted by a 7-goal outing against rival Chaminade – he scored 11 times and added 3 assists in three games against the Flyers – Duffy showed that he could thrive without the ball in his stick as well as when he has it.
“To me, he’s the No. 1 guy based off of the summer,” one college assistant coach said.
“He can play with or without the ball and he puts himself in the right spots,” another added.
Duffy was excellent at the NLF National Championships, scoring goals in a bunch of different ways. He’s still relatively new to the attack position after starting his career as a midfielder, too.
If these rankings were based off of the player most college-ready player right now, Johnston would be as much of a lock to be the No. 1 as Brennan O’Neill, Andrew McAdorey and Joey Spallina were in the NLF rankings. To a man, every college coach and most club coaches asked about him for these rankings identified him as the one who could physically be ready to play in a college game right now.
Johnston is at another level athletically, and combined with a 6-1, 200-pound frame, he’s the total package at midfield. He plays good, hard defense, runs by guys with ease in transition and has change-of-direction and long-range shooting ability that make him a nightmare to cover.
A newcomer to the NLF rankings and our new No. 1 player in the class from the Philly area, Lehman has the ability to take over a game at a moment’s notice. He led Wissahickon to the PIAA state tournament and the first tournament win in school history. Lehman also broke the school’s single-season goal record with 65. That, plus 28 assists for a 93-point season, isn’t too shabby for a sophomore.
“Lehman’s the best guy in Philly because he’s so freaking athletic,” one pro said. “He’s an attack/middie, but he could play pole if you gave him a pole.”
A dynamic lefty who also provides mismatches with his ability to play midfield and a protégé of Archers star Grant Ament, Lehman earned Maverik Showtime All-Star Game MVP honors and really blew up as the summer went on.
“He reminds me of a lefty (Maryland All-American and fellow Philly standout) Kyle Long,” one top assistant coach said. “He does everything.”
— MADLAX (@MADLAX1) May 1, 2021
Christmas is an absolute presence from the second he walks onto the field. Already 6-4, 205 pounds with an attackman’s stickwork with the long pole, he’s seemingly at the top of every school’s defensive board. Everyone compares him to Virginia All-American and Archers LSM Jared Conners – hard to see a massive LSM with an elite stick wearing No. 28 and not envision the SweetLax alum – and he’s got the potential to have that kind of impact at the next level.
Christmas was instrumental in leading the DC Dogs to an NLF National Championship this summer, two months after he helped Georgetown Prep to its first IAC title since 2014. He snatches up ground balls with ease, can push the pace in transition and constantly creates havoc in the middle of the field.
“He was one of the most impactful players of the summer,” one top 10 assistant coach said. “It’s incredible how much pressure he puts on opposing teams.”
Delgado’s the first player in the top 10 to dip a little bit from his original spot after starting out at No. 3 in the spring. That’s more of a testament to other players improving than anything against Delgado. He’s still an elite athlete who is dominant between the lines and a killer’s mentality.
“Athletically, he’s a cut above most guys,” one college assistant coach said.
Like Hoffman, he played a ton for a very good Brunswick team. Neither were asked to be the man offensively for the Bruins, something that will likely change next spring. When he plays for Prime Time, though, everyone knows who’s getting the ball in the big moment. He snapped home the overtime winner in the Naptown Challenge title game, and he nearly willed Prime Time to a playoff berth in the NLF National Championships with a four-goal outing against the West Coast Starz. He’s at his best in transition, and if he can refine his 6v6 settled offense, look out.
One of the more fascinating stories in the class, Wade announced in April that he’d graduate from Bullis as a ’22, then head to Australia for the summer and a boarding school after that to come into college as a ’23. He also decided on Princeton right after that process, and he’s a heck of a building block for the Tigers to start their ’23 class.
The son of former North Carolina All-American Ryan Wade, the younger Wade has the high IQ that you’d expect from the son of a legend of the sport. He’s played a ton of box lacrosse before, so he’s got a good handle in tight, but he also sees the field very well. He opted not to play much this summer, but he remains one of the best players in the class.
Between Burns, fellow five-star Nate Kabiri (Georgetown Prep, Md.) and four-star Caulley Deringer (Episcopal, Va.), there’s a good case to be made that Matt Rienzo has the best attack line in the country at his disposal. Burns shoots up into the top 10 from No. 18 after a great spring for a loaded Prep team – he popped 29 goals to go with 27 assists – and a terrific summer. He capped that summer with an outstanding performance at the NLF National Championships, including a two-goal, two-assist performance in the final.
Burns has excellent vision and patience with the ball in his stick. He never gets rattled under pressure and diagnoses plays a step before they happen. He’s not likely to explode past a defender with quickness and speed, but he uses his big frame, lacrosse IQ and good stick to get open. He can score righty or lefty, feed or finish, and everything in between. His versatility is a big reason why he’ll be a hot commodity.
“Burns changed his role and I saw him do more with less,” one top 10 college assistant coach said. “He doesn’t need the ball. He can play inside or outside. With the way he ended the summer, he should be really high on the list.”
Five-star recruits and the No. 1 goalie in the country don’t typically come from Alabama, but Moore will likely be the state’s highest-recruited player of all time. He skyrocketed onto many top schools’ boards with his consistency this summer, as well as his athleticism. Moore left his mark on 2021 early, scoring a full-field goal in a Briarwood Christian win that landed him on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10.
Moore put himself on the map early with some excellent performances and never relented. He was a major reason why Thunder earned a spot in the NLF National Championships semifinals. He’s a plus athlete for the position and isn’t afraid to go for a stroll out of his net. His clean footwork, fast hands and patience are hallmarks of his, and he stood out in a loaded goalie group for his play now and potential upside.
“He’s our top-rated goalie,” one high-end school head coach said. “He’s got great hand speed and no false movements.”