PHENOMenology: Meet Joey Epstein, the youngest ever DI lacrosse verbal commit

Landon freshman Joey Epstein became the youngest ever verbal lacrosse pledge when he committed to Johns Hopkins in August — MadLax

PHENOMenology: Meet Joey Epstein, the youngest ever DI lacrosse verbal commit

Boys Lacrosse

PHENOMenology: Meet Joey Epstein, the youngest ever DI lacrosse verbal commit

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Say this about the Hopkins lacrosse program: It doesn’t waste time locking up top young talent when it sees it.

Hopkins already has multiple commitments from the Class of 2018, freshmen who have yet to play a single game of competitive high school lacrosse. The youngest of that crop is Joey Epstein, an attacker for the Landon School in suburban D.C., who starred on the MadLax circuit over the summer. Epstein was also the first player in the Class of 2018 to commit to any school when picking Hopkins in August, and became the earliest freshman commitment in lacrosse recruiting history.

There are plenty of reasons for the hype and recruiting interest in Epstein. The Landon freshman stands 5-foot-1o and weighs in at 170 pounds, ideal dimensions for a power-dodging offensive player to still maintain speed. Though he’s still just 14, Epstein has both those tools in his locker, as well as a strong and accurate shot, particularly as he rounds the corner on a dodge from behind the cage.

Epstein recently spoke with Recruiting Rundown, the lacrosse recruiting site run by Ty Xanders, and opened up about his decision to pick Johns Hopkins before he’d even played a game for the Landon Bears. The entire interview can be found here, but how Epstein processes additional pressure and his decision to attend Hopkins were particularly interesting.

“Being the first 2018 commit doesn’t add any more pressure or stress that I don’t already put on myself. I always feel as though I have to play perfect.”

“My dad has worked at Hopkins for several years and I always loved the Mt. Washington and Homewood campuses. Although this didn’t play a huge role in my decision, I did feel as though I wanted to stay close to home. I’ve wanted to be a Blue Jay ever since I picked up a stick and I’ve been going to Hopkins lacrosse games since I was six years old. I loved the coaching staff, the campus, the tradition and the family feel that Hopkins lacrosse players have. I wanted one of the best academic schools I could find plus an opportunity to win a national championship.”

With a familial and local connection, perhaps it’s best that Epstein got his pledge out of the way rather than drag out the process when he’d already made a decision. Of course, while Epstein was the first Hopkins commitment for the Class of 2018, he isn’t the only Blue Jays pledge; as previously covered here at PHENOMenology, Alexander Mabbett from upstate New York also has committed to play in Baltimore.

Whether these two will form part of the core of a Hopkins resurgence under coach Dave Pietremala remains to be seen. If he continues to progress, Epstein will certainly have the talent to make a major impact.

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