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2021 PLL College Draft Big Board

Note: This article will be updated throughout the college lacrosse season leading up to the PLL College Draft scheduled for April 6.

Overview (March 13)

I’m faced with a conundrum this week. The question faced by anyone who has ever watched Connor Kelly play: Truly, what position does that guy play?

I’m asking it now about Charlie Bertrand. I’ve listed him with the attack every week because that’s what he played at Merrimack where he absolutely ethered all of D2 lacrosse for years. Now he’s playing midfield at UVA, but impacting the game at all spots, and in all facets. At this point, coaches are looking at him as a midfielder at the next level as well, and why wouldn’t you? This is a 6’3″, 220lbs beast who can take shorties behind and win his matchup. Or take a pole behind…and win his matchup. Bertrand, along with Tierney, might have the fastest rising stock in lacrosse.

Also of note, you’ve probably seen Paul Carcaterra put out his big board of draft prospects for the PLL. In viewing, you may have noticed that Chris Gray is conspicuously absent. Gray has the option of returning for another year of college because of COVID. However, until he officially declares that he plans to stay in school (as Matt Moore did by committing to a UVA grad program), I will keep him on my board, and this will be the case for all seniors and grad students. This is the case for other players on the list as well, including Nakeie Montgomery and possibly Dox Aitken (for football). 

This Big Board update was written before the UNC/UVA game Thursday night, so performances there have not been factored in. That was probably the must-see game of the weekend. The next best game is easily Rutgers vs Maryland, who each look to be a step ahead of the rest of the Big Ten. Rutgers has a chance to make a major statement with a win over the Terps. Other games of note are Hopkins vs Penn State, Ohio State vs Michigan and UMass vs Fairfield, which gives us our first look at Jeff Trainor. 

The Rules

This will change from its initial publication in February to the days leading up to the 2021 PLL College Draft on April 6. Players’ stock goes up and down throughout the year.

The board will feature seniors and graduate students only.  COVID makes eligibility and who is staying in school vs graduating and leaving for the pros a total mess, so if a player is listed as a senior or grad student, they’re eligible to show up on my big board. Ivy League players are a total guessing game, but we’re also just proceeding as if seniors and grad students are playing their last year this year. If we get news otherwise, we’ll take them off the board.

This is NOT a mock draft. This is not the order I expect these players to be drafted in (outside of the guy at the top of the list). It’s my listing of who I expect to have the biggest impact at the pro level. 

Below the first grouping, I list my “Next Tier.” These are in no particular order and are names I could see sneaking up into that first group, and at a minimum are worthy of a mention of pro prospects. 

This is just my opinion. I speak for no one but myself. And now, you are more than welcome to tell me who I’m “totally sleeping on” and “disrespecting.” 

Overall

  1. Michael Sowers, A, Duke
  2. Chris Gray, A, UNC
  3. JT Giles Harris, D, Duke
  4. Jared Conners, LSM, UVA (↑ Up 3)
  5. Jeff Teat, A, Cornell (↓ Down 1)
  6. Connor Kirst, M, Villanova/Rutgers
  7. TD Ierlan, FO, Albany/Yale/Denver (↓ Down 2)
  8. Ryan Terefenko, M, Ohio State
  9. Jake Carraway, A, Georgetown
  10. Peter Dearth, M, Syracuse

Conners bumps up because he just keeps making impressive plays and demonstrating that he’s exactly the type of pole that thrives in the PLL. I’m not one for player comps, I prefer playing ceilings. If he progresses and continues to improve, and adjusts to the pro game speed, his ceiling is that he plays like Michael Ehrhardt. He’s that good.

Is he Ehrhardt now? No, and he has a long way to go. But it’s possible. And there are not many of those LSMs in the league now, or ever. Watch UVA leverage Conners in the sub game, on the offensive end, all while he draws top matchups. He can do everything. When a player like this is available, unless you have a top two to three LSM in the league, you do what you can to get him.

Attack

  1. Michael Sowers, Duke
  2. Chris Gray, UNC
  3. Jeff Teat, Cornell
  4. Jake Carraway, Georgetown
  5. Jared Bernhardt, Maryland
  6. Ryan Tierney, Hofstra
  7. Tre Leclaire, Ohio State ( Up 1)
  8. Mac O’Keefe, Penn State (↓ Down 1)
  9. Tehoka Nanticoke, UAlbany (+ Joins Top 10)
  10. Ethan Walker, Denver (↓ Down 1)

    Next Tier: Asher Nolting, Ryan Smith, Jackson Morrill, Adam Charalambides

Tehoka jumps up into the Top 10 attackman after making his season debut in style, scoring a first half hat trick including a goal he somehow scored sitting down. Nanticoke showed up as a college freshman four years ago at the World Championships with the Iroquois, and if he can play comfortably at that level four years ago, it’s safe to say he’s ready to have an impact in the pro game now.

Tre Leclaire jumps above Mac O’Keefe for now, as I like Leclaire’s ability to get his own shot more that O’Keefe. The Penn State sniper is scoring, but can’t really create for himself thus far. That won’t be his role in the PLL, he’ll be running off of screens to get his hands free or running out of the box to try and get him matched with shorties. Leclaire can win against his defender consistently now, and has the box background to boot.

Midfield

  1. Connor Kirst, Villanova/Rutgers
  2. Ryan Terefenko, Ohio State
  3. Peter Dearth, Syracuse
  4. Dox Aitken, UVA
  5. Charlie Bertrand, Merrimack/UVA (+ Moves to Midfield Top 10)
  6. Logan Wisnauskas, Maryland (↓ Down 1)
  7. Tanner Cook, UNC (↓ Down 1)
  8. Jamie Trimboli, Syracuse (↑ Up 2)
  9. Jack Hannah, Denver (↓ Down 2)
  10. Nakeie Montgomery, Duke (↓ Down 2)

    Next Tier:  Justin Anderson, Bubba Fairman, Jonathan Donville, Mitch Bartolo, Kevin Rogers, Alex Concannon, Danny Logan, Jeff Trainor

This week, there was a lot of midfield shuffling, mostly thanks to Charlie Bertrand entering the fray from the attack group, although those top four at midfield are rock solid in my eyes. Bertrand enters the middies as a top five option, bumping the rest of the group down. I think Jamie Trimboli has raised his stock nicely as Syracuse looks better every week.

Also joining the list is Jeff Trainor. The UMass middie is incredibly skilled and has quietly put together a great career at UMass. Trainor has the skillset that the PLL loves, someone who can consistently beat a shorty from low and high wings, great vision to feed off the dodge and is a consistent shooter. UMass finally gets their schedule going this weekend and Trainor is a guy who could shoot up this board. 

Defense/LSM

  1. JT Giles-Harris, Duke
  2. Jared Conners, UVA
  3. Gibson Smith, Georgetown
  4. Ryan McNulty, Loyola
  5. Chris Fake, Yale
  6. Koby Smith, Towson
  7. Jack Kielty, Notre Dame
  8. Arden Cohen, Notre Dame
  9. Kyle Kology, UVA (+ Joins Top 10)
  10. Nick Cardile, Penn State (↓ Down 1)

    Next Tier: Kyle Thornton, Pat Kennedy, Colin Squires, Teddy Leggett

Defense stays where it is for now. Pat Kennedy had a nice game against Providence with a handful of GBs and CTOs. Kyle Thornton has been solid for Notre Dame, and a decent performance against Marquette may move him ahead of Cardile. Cardile has yet to have a CTO through three games, and while there are plenty of great defenders who don’t put up gaudy CTO numbers, it would be nice to see him create extra possessions for the Nittany Lions.

Goalie

  1. Drake Porter, Syracuse
  2. Owen McIlroy, Georgetown
  3. Mike Adler, St. Joe’s/Duke (↑ Up 1)
  4. Phil Goss, Brown (↓ Down 1)
  5. Colin Kirst, Rutgers

    Next Tier: Alex Rode, Colby Kneese

Mike Adler moves up a spot after a great night against High Point. After a rough start, the St. Joe’s transfer looks much more comfortable in net for Duke. He’s now north of 60% save percentage, made eight saves against High Point and 15 against Richmond in the game prior. The top two feel pretty locked in, as McIlroy has been outstanding for Georgetown. He has a big test on the road at Denver this week.

Faceoff Specialist

  1. TD Ierlan, Albany/Yale/Denver
  2. Kyle Gallagher, Penn/Notre Dame
  3. Gerard Arceri, Penn State

    Next Tier: Bailey Savio, Dan O’Connell, Connor Gaffney, Brian Herber, Jake Glatz, Charles Leonard

Faceoff crew stays where it is. I could see Savio overtake Arceri with some dominant performances, but otherwise, these top three will the primary options for PLL coaches on draft day, with TD a lock at one.

Who is your top PLL College Draft prospect? Let us know your thought’s on our PLL College Draft big board in the comments or on social media.

Dan Arestia is a lacrosse fanatic first, writer second. He is a frequent contributor to Lacrosse Playground and has been published on College Crosse and Inside Lacrosse.

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