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The newest set of NLF class of 2024 rankings rolls on.
The service academies got an early start to recruiting ’24s on July 1, but for everybody else, Sept. 1 is the magic date. That’s when the remaining Division I schools can start contacting juniors.
Eclipse standout lefty midfielder Matt Jeffery (Cheshire, Conn.) collected the No. 1 spot in the rankings. The rest of the top 10 leads off with faceoff midfielder Ben McCarthy (Haverford School, Pa.), attackman Spencer Ford (Boys’ Latin, Md. / Crabs) and attackman Kyle Colsey (Ridgefield, Conn. / Eclipse).
Here are the rest of the five-star prospects in the class. The rest of the list of 120 players will be announced this week.
11. Tade Wynn, goalie, Culver (Ind.) / West Coast Starz – Army
One of the most established recruits in the class, Wynn didn’t waste any time in committing to his dream school. Army got a good one in the 6-2, 185-pounder, who split time in the Culver cage this spring with 2023 four-star Adam Vickrey (Princeton). That playing time against the Eagles’ national schedule helped further his confidence, and it’s clear that he knows he’s an elite goalie when he’s in the cage.
Wynn plays with poise and confidence. The second of three five-star goalies on the list, he is more physically built than his peers, which allows him to make saves that others can’t. Wynn collected an All-Star nod at Main Stage, played at the National All-Star Games and backstopped the Starz to a pool win and playoff berth at the NLF National Championships.
“Tade is a tireless worker who has put his heart and soul into perfecting his craft through simply punching the clock and grinding,” West Coast Starz director Jono Zissi said.
12. Sean Browne, attack/midfield, Episcopal of Dallas (Texas) / Texas Nationals / Mad Dog
The most athletic big offensive player in the class, or as one coach said, “there’s nobody like him.”
Browne checks in at around 6-4, 190 pounds, and the lefty’s ambidextrous shooting ability makes him an even more eye-popping prospect. Also a good basketball player, Browne has good body control and understanding of how to get to favorable spots on the field. A Maverik Showtime All-Star, Browne is an excellent finisher but also demands an early slide with his ability to stretch a defense out. The Texas all-state selection has good footwork to set up his moves and give himself space to operate, too.
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13. Caden Harshbarger, midfield, Lake Mary (Fla.) / SweetLax Florida
Harshbarger might be the most athletic player at any position in the class. Get the slide package ready early on him. Harshbarger has the combination of a lightning-quick first step, tremendous change-of-direction and the long speed to leave defenders in a pretzel. Harshbarger impacts the game all over the field, grabbing ground balls, playing good defense.
The Main Stage MVP profiles as someone whose athleticism will get him on the field early at a top-5 school, and if he can diversify his offensive game a bit, watch out.
14. Ben Fox, defense, Chaminade (N.Y.) / Team 91 Long Island Wolfpack
Get ready to go against Fox the second you pull up to the game in the parking lot. He might already be guarding you out there. Fox took on a murderer’s row of attackmen this summer, routinely drawing the opponent’s top attackman, and came out with an impressive record to show for it. The Wolfpack have three defensemen in the top 30. They all bring something different to the table, and Fox is the best cover guy of the bunch.
A rare sophomore starter on defense for a Chaminade program that’s generally extremely averse to playing underclassmen, Fox emerged as the Flyers’ top defensive player. As a sophomore. You don’t understand, that NEVER happens. Fox is at the top of many schools’ defensive boards. The One Percent and Main Stage All-Star plays every bit the 6-1, 190-pounder that he is. He’s absolutely relentless on ball and makes life miserable for attackmen. Making slight improvements to his off-ball defense and improving his stick could vault him to the top of this list.
“My team couldn’t play offense when we played against him at Main Stage,” Cherries coach Chris Garland said. “He was so disruptive.”
15. Liam Kershis, attack, Shoreham-Wading River (N.Y.) / Legacy
A super smooth QB type who could also be a proficient wing dodger at the next level, Kershis has been a fixture for Shoreham-Wading River for two years. He bagged 80 points as a sophomore with a balanced 45-goal, 35-assist stat line. Like many of the top attackmen in the class, he has below-average size, so it’ll be intriguing to see how he adapts to the next level. Despite that, Kershis is a problem for defenses off the dodge with his slippery style and often leaves defenders spinning in a blender. He keeps his head up and is always looking for open teammates.
16. Finn Fox, defense / LSM, Belmont Hill (Mass.) / Laxachusetts
Short of maybe No. 8 Luke Hublitz, there isn’t a more versatile defensive player in the class than Fox. A four-star in the previous rankings, he earns that coveted fifth star after a lights-out summer that followed an outstanding spring. He split LSM duties with Johns Hopkins 2023 commit Charlie Hazard, a fellow Laxachusetts product, for Belmont Hill. When summer rolled around, Fox got right after it, dominating at the NLF Summer Kickoff, and shining at the NLF Elite 120.
He’s comfortable playing down low or up top, depending on the matchup. Fox has the footwork, stickwork, strength and aggressiveness to guard big or small. He’s incredibly disruptive and is at the top of at least two top-10 schools’ defensive wish lists.
17. Jimmy Kenney, LSM, Needham (Mass.) / Laxachusetts
Speaking of incredibly disruptive, look out. There might not be a more entertaining defensive player in the class than Kenney, who has an extremely adversarial relationship with opposing offensive players’ sticks. Over the head, kayak, ice picks, whatever. Kenney’s going to try it with aplomb. The 6-2, 185-pound lefty is elite in the middle of the field, showcasing a great stick. He’s got the aggressiveness and meanness that you want out of a defender and loves to hit.
“You always have to account for him when you have the ball,” one top-15 assistant coach said. “He’s always lurking and he has so many checks in his arsenal.”
Like a lot of LSMs, the New England standout at the National All-Star Games has to fine tune his defense a bit, but his impact in the middle of the field offsets that… and more.
18. Austin Hicks, attack, St. Margaret’s Episcopal (Calif.) / Mad Dog
There’s a really good argument to be made for Hicks as the best pure goal scorer in the class. He fills up the back of the net, early, often and then even more often. He has the potential to take over a game at the drop of a hat. The Maverik Showtime and Main Stage All-Star isn’t the biggest attackman in the world, but plays much bigger than his frame suggests and he’s a terrific shooter. He’ll be at his best in college if he has a good pass-first type around him. Leave him open on the wing, and you might as well just tell your goalie to start turning and raking.
19. Tommy Snyder, defense / LSM, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) / LI Express Schwalje
There are different opinions as to whether Snyder’s future is at close defense or LSM. Either way, it’s hard to find 6-5, 185-pounders who can move. You wouldn’t expect defenders that size to get upfield the way that he does, but he routinely pulls away from smaller attackmen and midfielders on the clear. Snyder made a stacked St. Anthony’s varsity as a sophomore, which is no small feat. He was instrumental in the Express’ run to the NLF National Championship game and has shown that he can lock up big or small. His combination of size, athleticism, nastiness and takeaway ability have him high up on many schools’ boards.
20. Dante Vardaro, defense, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) / Team 91 Long Island Wolfpack
If Ben Fox is the best pure cover guy on an outstanding Team 91 defense, Vardaro is maybe the best combination of coverage, stickwork and off-ball defense. A One Percent and Main Stage All-Star – and also its Defensive MVP – who helped Team 91 win the Prime Time Invitational and CrabFeast, Vardaro makes sure you remember that he covered you. He can match up physically with anyone and take the ball away. Vardaro has prototypical size and should carve out a role for himself this spring, even on a St. Anthony’s team that returns a boatload of defensive talent.
21. Ben Friedman, goalie, Taft (Conn.) / Prime Time
Friedman was already an established commodity on the ’24 goalie circuit prior to this summer. 2022 five-star Thomas Ricciardelli‘s (Eclipse / Notre Dame) understudy, Friedman will assume the role of starting goalie at Taft next year. He played up once again this summer with Prime Time’s 2023s and shined bright. Blessed with excellent mechanics while rarely wasting movement, the New York selection at the National All-Star Games anticipates shots well. The Main Stage goalie MVP also has terrific grades, and that’ll give him a ton of options in the process.