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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.

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. That said, every week I’ll be adjusting the big board, and posting new rankings. 

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.” 

Overview (February 20)

It’s still quite early, but we are getting closer to a full return of college lacrosse and we’ve had a chance to see a lot of players on the board, in some cases in multiple games. There is not a ton of movement this week, but that will change next week as Big Ten play will have started, Syracuse will have played its first game and we’ll get some big matchups like Loyola vs. UVA, Army vs. Syracuse, Villanova vs. Georgetown and Albany vs. Lehigh. By the end of this weekend, everyone on the board will have played at least one game.

Overall

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

Chris Gray has been undeniably off the charts to start the year and already has 21 points, which leads the nation. I actually thought about putting him ahead of Sowers this week, which says a lot. I didn’t do it, but I THOUGHT about it. He moves ahead of JTGH and Jeff Teat. Duke and UNC play on April 1, and Giles-Harris guarding Chris Gray might be the best individual matchup you’ll see happen this year (and a an early edition of what we may see in the PLL). It looks like we won’t see Teat this season, but the top NLL prospect and already a PLL draft pick once can fit into just about any roster in the league.

Attack

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

    Next Tier: Matt Moore, Charlie Bertrand, Eric Holden, Ryan Smith, Jackson Morrill, Cole Williams, Ryan Tierney

Asher Nolting has been a monster so far this year and is poised to move up the board even further. In a matchup with UNC’s Will Bowen, who looks to be one of, if not the top defensemen in the next PLL draft class, Nolting came away with a whopping nine points. Some of those on Bowen, but many not, and that’s a testament to Nolting and High Point’s ability to get switches for him. Also joining the group is Ryan Tierney, who put up 11 points, including eight goals, against St. John’s. Even with the explosive output, I don’t think I can put Tierney ahead of anyone in my top ten, but he deserves a mention at a minimum. I’m not ready to put Gray ahead of Sowers. Yet. Probably, not ever. But maybe.

Midfield

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

    Next Tier:  Justin Anderson, Bubba Fairman, Jonathan Donville, Mitch Bartolo, Cam Badour, Kevin Rogers, Colin Clothier

Too much of this group hasn’t played yet to really shuffle players. One addition to the “Next Tier” group is High Point’s Kevin Rogers. The transfer from Lynchburg has 11 points on the season, and that’s more than everyone on UNC not named Chris Gray, everyone on UVA not named Payton Cormier and everyone on Duke not named Michael Sowers. Rogers has been exceptional for High Point this season and, at 6’4″ and 185 lbs., has the size to play at the next level. Another player to watch is High Point’s Colin Clothier at the SSDM spot. He played well against a stacked UNC midfield group, including causing a turnover.

Defense/LSM

  1. JT Giles-Harris, Duke
  2. Jared Conners, UVA
  3. Gibson Smith, Georgetown (↑ Up 1)
  4. Ryan McNulty, Loyola (↑ Up 1)
  5. Koby Smith, Towson (↓ Down 2)
  6. Chris Fake, Yale
  7. Jake Kielty, Notre Dame
  8. Arden Cohen, Notre Dame
  9. Nick Cardile, Penn State
  10. Pat Kennedy, Villanova

    Next Tier: Kyle Thornton, Kyle Kology, Colin Squires, Teddy Leggett, Jared Fernandez

I could make the case to drop Jared Fernandez since he’s missing the year, but I think his ability warrants his name mentioned here. Most of the list hasn’t been in action yet here or won’t be this year (Chris Fake). I did drop Koby Smith a few spots, as I was very impressed with Ryan McNulty’s outing against Richmond (5 GB, 2 CTO). Conners is a clear top LSM, but McNulty is definitely one of those ground ball machines that pushes transition hard that PLL coaches love. By the end of the day Sunday, everyone on this list will have played at least one game.

Goalie

  1. Drake Porter, Syracuse
  2. Owen McIlroy, Georgetown
  3. Phil Goss, Brown
  4. Mike Adler, St. Joe’s/Duke
  5. Colby Kneese, Penn State

    Next Tier: Alex Rode

No movement for the goalies, and to be honest Porter is as solidly at number one here as Sowers is elsewhere. It’ll take a ridiculous season from someone else AND a very down season for him to not be number one in my eyes.

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

Hopefully we see Ierlan suit up for Denver within the next few weeks, as it is still his plan to transfer to the Pios. Bailey Savio was a pedestrian 10-for-17 against Richmond, we’ll see how he does against a tougher opponent like UVA’s Petey LaSalla this weekend. Gallagher and Arceri both get their opening opportunities for the year this weekend as well.

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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