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Tucker Kellogg has been shooting the ball in the triple digit range since he was in middle school, but the 6’1’’ 195-pound midfielder from Trinity-Pawling (N.Y.) and Prime Time has evolved his game after suffering a shoulder injury last year. Now seen as a versatile passer and scorer, the No. 29 player in the NLF class of 2023 rankings caught the attention of all the ACCs, Big 10s, and Ivies when Sept. 1 rolled around. Kellogg committed to Syracuse on Sept. 8 so that could stay close to home while competing for a national championship.
How big a transition did you game take from the start of September 2020 to September 2021? What skill changed the most?
I would say my passing and my dodging has increased a lot because not many people know but I hurt my shoulder last spring. I wasn’t able to shoot at full capacity, so I had to change my game to help other plays out while helping myself get recruited.
You shot the ball 102 mph at the World Series of Youth Lacrosse when you were in middle school. Did that draw any college coaches’ attention at an early age?
I’m sure it did, I was so young, I was in 6th grade. I think coaches wanted to see how it played out obviously, but I think it put my name on the radar. I didn’t play club lacrosse before that year, so I was kind of just a nobody. I’ve always played lacrosse; my brother went to Virginia and he did all of this so my name was out there, but I was able to put a stamp on my name. It was good because I was able to grow my game after that.
What was September 1st like? Did you stay up till Midnight? Did you have trouble handling all the activity?
I had 32 calls the whole next day. I took three visits and I didn’t really need to take any more. My phone was buzzing, it was definitely hard to process everything. One coach would call and then the next would call, so it just kind of everywhere but I knew I was going to get through it.
Were the schools that you visited the only schools that you considered?
No, So I had a ton of the high-major schools and a couple other schools in the mix, but I definitely wanted to stay near home. My whole family lives upstate near Syracuse, so it was a big thing because I haven’t had many games without my family there and I think Syracuse is the right distance for everyone to make it to games. If I went to farther away, then I wouldn’t be able to see my family as much and I don’t think I could thrive as well.
What was your reaction when you heard about the Gary Gait and Dave Pietramala hire?
I was kind of blown away, because my dad is close with our club director, Nick Daniello, and he was hearing things about it. I was thinking, “no way this is going to happen,” but Syracuse has always been my dream school. They produce arguably the best midfielders in the country, but I was just blown away because it’s the best offensive player to ever play and the best defensive player to ever play. It’s a lethal combo that I thought could create super teams in the future. (Offensive coordinator) Pat March is such a great offensive coach. I think they can really create a dynasty in the next few years.
What was the best experience you had during those visits?
Meeting all the players at Syracuse. (West Coast Starz alum and All-American midfielder) Tucker Dordevic was the first guy I met; he was waiting at the door for me when I got there along with Coach Gait and Petro and the rest of the coaching staff. I look up to Tucker’s game, I want to make my game be near his. They seem to really care about their players at Syracuse and it wasn’t just about sports, the academic support was big. They have a lot of majors I want to pursue as well.
I’m a physical dodger but I definitely want to get stronger in the weight room and get quicker as well. People used to think of me as just a stepdown shooter, but my game has changed to more of a versatile dodger, feeder, and shooter role which will help me out at the next level.
What are you looking forward to most at Syracuse?
Definitely playing with the guys, playing with (NLF No. 1 ’22) Joey Spallina (Mount Sinai, N.Y. / Team 91 Long Island Smash) will be fun along with the rest of the guys. The coaching atmosphere is one of the best in the country, and then obviously competing for national championships has always been something I wanted to achieve in my life.