If you look at championship teams from around the country, one thing usually stands out for those who are usually fortunate enough to come away with hardware.
They are, by and large, led by outstanding seniors. As the class of 2022 takes center stage, it’s always intriguing to see which players take that next step forward toward greatness. There’s plenty of talent across the country and we’ve already covered a lot of the 2022s through three sets of rankings. The fourth and final ones will be released at the conclusion of the summer after the players have gone through their senior years and the Nike National All-Star Game.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some four-stars that you could see emerging as five-stars by the final rankings, in no particular order.
Michael Weisshaar, midfield, Archbishop Spalding (Md.) / Annapolis Hawks / Towson – NLF No. 47 ’22
This one is a mere formality. You can basically consider him a five-star now. Weisshaar debuted in the NLF Rankings at No. 8 a while back, then dropped after he dealt with injuries for a year. All he did last year was win the C. Markland Kelly award as the best player in the state of Maryland. Is that good? Many people are saying that’s good. Weisshaar racked up 56 goals and 28 assists in helping Spalding to an MIAA title game appearance. The lefty has exceptional speed and agility and he’ll be the catalyst for what projects as a very strong Spalding team. As of right now, he’s a strong contender for the No. 2 spot in the rankings.
Konrad Miklaszewski, LSM / Defense, Montclair (N.J.) / Leading Edge / Yale – NLF No. 29 ’22
A tall lefty who can run for days, Miklaszewski was a top priority for the Bulldogs early in the ’22 cycle and with good reason. He’s got a mean, nasty disposition, can run for days and plays with the mentality and snarl that Yale prides itself on. A first-team all-state pick as a junior, Miklaszewski can effortlessly switch between playing LSM and close defense. He may not push the offensive pace as much as other poles do, but he’s one of the better coverage LSMs in the class.
Dylan Sageder, LSM, Mount Sinai (N.Y.) / Team 91 Smash / Syracuse – NLF No. 43 ’22
Similar in some ways to Miklaszewski in that neither is going to push for double-digit goals as a college LSM, Sageder is a quietly effective cover man. He does a very good job of blanketing opposing midfielders and can put the ball on the ground, and he’s also got an excellent stick. Sageder has continually improved over the past two club seasons with Smash and projects to have a monster year for the defending Long Island Class C champions.
Ryan O’Connor, LSM, Springfield (Pa.) / Big 4 HHH / Penn State
O’Connor narrowly missed the rankings last time and that will absolutely not happen again. He is electric at the LSM spot with his takeaway ability and with how he roams the middle of the field. His play helped guide the Cougars to a PIAA District One title a season ago and showed vastly improved coverage ability. O’Connor stickwork is elite – he’s also one of the Central League’s premier hockey defensemen – and he can push the pace, which he did to the tune of 12 goals and nine assists as a junior. Look for him to lead Springfield to another big year, especially with his exceptional play on the wings.
Jack Cascadden, faceoff midfield, Garden City (N.Y.) / LI Express / Cornell – NLF No. 34 ’22
Cascadden is a total freak for any position, let alone the faceoff spot. He’s up to 6-3, 235 pounds on the heels of a football season where he won the Thorp Award as the best player in Nassau County. All he did was lead Garden City to a Long Island championship while rushing for 1,368 yards and 27 touchdowns, making 73 tackles and handling punting duties.
So yeah, pretty good athlete. He’s also an outstanding faceoff middie who provides mismatches at the stripe. Cascadden scored 12 goals, including one in the Long Island championship, to help the Trojans to an LIC Class B title. He’s bigger, faster and stronger than everyone else. Have fun dealing with that.
Pat Crogan, midfield, Lexington (Mass.) / Laxachusetts / Georgetown – NLF No. 59 ’22
The Energizer Bunny out of the midfield, Crogan is impossible to miss. Just look for the ball and he’ll be around it. Crogan emerged as one of the top players in the country thanks to his defensive and transition work, but he’s worked hard at improving his offensive game. Quick, fast and tough, Crogan was arguably Laxachusetts’ top player this summer and he’s a threat all over the field. He put up 51 goals and 12 assists in just 13 games as a junior. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him and his younger brother, Laxachusetts ’24 four-star Sean Crogan, lead Lexington to a huge season.
Griffin Scane, midfield, Culver (Ind.) / Cherries / Penn – NLF No. 30 ’22
He’s always been a presence, but Scane has taken his game to another level. The Michigan native is Culver’s top midfielder and has the ability to do a little bit of everything.
“The game comes to him now,” Culver coach Jon Birsner said. “We want the ball in his stick in any important situations.”
A big-time scorer who’s improved his feeding ability, Scane thrives in all situations. He’s a more than capable defensive midfielder and his play will be the difference between Culver being a top 10 team or challenging for the No. 1 spot.
What’s this guy’s deal?
— NLF (@natlaxfed) June 10, 2021
Luke Rhoa, midfield, St. John’s (D.C.) / Crabs / Syracuse – NLF No. 60 ’22
There aren’t many shooters who can stretch out a defense with either hand the way that Rhoa does. He packs a ton of power on his shot and doesn’t need a ton of room to get it off. He’s front and center as arguably the best player for the Cadets, a team that will contend for the top spot nationally throughout the season. Rhoa showed off his offensive upside with four goals in St. John’s season-opening rout of Georgetown Prep.
Richard Checo, defense / LSM, St. John’s (D.C.) / Annapolis Hawks / Lehigh
Perhaps no ’22 defender elevated his stock more this summer than Checo. He was flat-out AWESOME at the NAL event and was instrumental in helping the Hawks win the title. Checo was incredibly disruptive in the title game against DC Express, and while he didn’t win a ton of faceoffs against No. 8 ’22 Mac Eldridge (Virginia), he made life miserable and turned everything into a 50-50 ball. The Mountain Hawks had to fend off a lot of late interest to hang on to Checo, and they’ll be rewarded with a high-energy player who gets under opponents’ skin. He’ll be a prominent part of a St. John’s team that will content for the title of top team in the country.
Truitt Sunderland, attack, Calvert Hall (Md.) / Team Slainte / Virginia
Sunderland was ineligible for the last rankings, which only allowed players that played for NLF teams or at NLF events in the rankings. This time, it’s open to everyone, and he projects to be very high on the list. Sunderland missed his junior campaign for the Cardinals with a foot injury, so it’ll be interesting to see how he bounces back. When he’s at his best, he’s a flashy, make-you-miss type who had 35 goals and 22 helpers as a freshman for Calvert Hall.
Will Donovan, LSM, Brunswick (Conn.) / 2Way / Notre Dame
Max Sloat, attack/midfield, Sacred Heart Prep (Calif.) / ADVNC / West Coast Starz – Duke
Kai Prohaszka, LSM, Ridgefield (Conn.) / Prime Time
Matt Minicus, attack, Darien (Conn.) / Eclipse