USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the college recruiting process. Here, you’ll find practical tips and real-world advice on becoming a better recruit to maximize your opportunities to play at the college level. Jesse Churchward is a former Division 1 lacrosse player. In addition to his senior head recruiting coach duties at NCSA, Jesse also serves as the head coach for a U15 travel team. Jesse is just one of many former college and professional players, college coaches, and parents who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. Their knowledge, experience, and dedication along with NCSA’s history of digital innovation, and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community have made NCSA the largest and most successful athletic recruiting network in the country.
Already a prominent sport on the East Coast, men’s lacrosse is growing in popularity across the country. Boys high school lacrosse has seen a 28.3% increase in participation from 2009 to 2019, while dominant sports like football have seen a nearly 10% drop in participation during the same timeframe.
While the growth of lacrosse is exciting, an increase in participation means you’ll face more competition for college roster spots and athletic scholarships. If you have your sights set on competing at the collegiate level, this is your complete guide to men’s college lacrosse recruiting.
NCAA Lacrosse Recruiting Rules and Calendar
High school lacrosse athletes can expect to hear from college coaches for the first time after September 1 of their junior year.
How did the NCAA choose this date? A 2017 study conducted by the NCAA revealed that 81% of lacrosse student-athletes had been contacted by college coaches prior to their junior year. When compared to the other 10 NCAA sanctioned men’s sports, lacrosse had the highest rate of early recruiting by 18%.
Recognizing the rapid growth of early recruiting in college lacrosse, US Lacrosse and the IWLCA/IMLCA worked toward pushing back the date that college coaches can begin contacting student-athletes.
Visit our guide to the NCAA men’s lacrosse recruiting rules and calendar to get up-to-speed on the recruiting rules across each division level.
Lacrosse Recruiting Guidelines
You may be wondering how college coach expectations vary division to division. Luckily, NCSA’s lacrosse coaches have put together a recruiting guide for men’s lacrosse recruits that breaks down what skills goalies, attackers, midfielders and defenders need to play at each NCAA division level.
Here’s a quick overview:
- NCAA Division I: College coaches are looking for elite, well-rounded athletes at the Division I level and can use their influence over admissions to secure top talent on their team. Visit NCSA’s recruiting guidelines page to see what position-specific skills you need to compete at this level.
- NCAA Division II: There may be fewer Division II men’s lacrosse programs than at any other level, but competition at these programs is still strong. Find out if you have the skills needed to play your position at the Division II.
- NCAA Division III: These programs may not offer athletic scholarships, but that doesn’t stop Division III college coaches from recruiting the same talent as Division II and II schools. Head on over to our page on the position-specific skills that Division III coaches look for in recruits.
The Recruiting Process
College recruiting starts long before college coaches can begin reaching out to recruits. As early as freshman year of high school, you and your families will need to take the following steps to kick-off the recruiting process:
- Researching lacrosse programs: There are more than 400 four-year institutions and 21 junior colleges that offer men’s college lacrosse. You and your family should begin the recruiting process by researching all your options to build a list of prospective schools.
- Build a recruiting profile: You will also need to build a strong recruiting profile where you can record important stats and upload a recruiting video. You can create a free NCSA recruiting profile here.
- Create a highlight video: College coaches don’t have the time or budget to watch every student-athlete compete in person. To overcome this challenge, create a highlight video that college coaches can watch to evaluate your versatility, lacrosse IQ and athleticism. Learn what college coaches look for in a lacrosse highlight video and how to share your video here.
- Attend lacrosse camps: Lacrosse recruiting camps set the stage for you to be evaluated by college coaches while sharpening your skills and competing against top talent across the country. Traveling to lacrosse camps is especially important for student-athletes competing outside the Northeast region, who have limited access and exposure to NCAA men’s lacrosse programs. Find a lacrosse camp near you.
- Contacting college coaches: While college coaches are not able to communicate with student until after September 1 of the recruit’s junior year, student-athletes can still reach out to college coaches. Learn how to write an introductory email.
The growth of men’s college lacrosse in recent years has had a significant impact on student-athletes’ scholarship chances. While the NCAA continues to add new lacrosse programs, introducing 16 Division III, five Division II and three Division I programs in 2019 alone, funding for these programs has not yet caught up with the growth. Here is a look at the different types of college lacrosse offers that college coaches can award recruits: Your Complete Guide to Men’s Lacrosse College Scholarships
Top Ranked Men’s Lacrosse Colleges
NCSA’s annual Power Rankings report is a tool designed to help student-athletes and their families identify the right college fit. We’ve ranked the top colleges and universities that offer men’s lacrosse based on decision-making factors that matter most to you and your family, such as cost, size, location and academics. You can also find a complete list of colleges offering men’s lacrossencs