Five Underrated Connecticut Players To Watch This Spring
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The state of Connecticut has been a hotbed and breeding ground for top high school lacrosse talent for as long as we can remember. It’s been booming with college prospects as of late (and not just from Fairfield County), as…
The state of Connecticut has been a hotbed and breeding ground for top high school lacrosse talent for as long as we can remember. It’s been booming with college prospects as of late (and not just from Fairfield County), as six Top 15 recruits in the Class of 2024 play high school ball in the Nutmeg State, including two of the four Notre Dame signees from CT that were written up last week.
Today, let’s take a look at five players who don’t get as many of the headlines: a pair of uncommitted prospects, juniors committed to Vermont and Boston U., and a senior headed to one of the top programs in Division III.
Doing it all for St. Joseph’s, Corry was recently named captain for the Cadets. He had 89 points a year ago, nearly perfectly split with 44 goals and 45 assists. He also led the team with 65 ground balls – more than any faceoff man or defender. Watching Corry on film, the first thing that jumps out is his hands. He’s remarkably smooth picking up the ball, handling it, and moving through traffic with it. It will remind you of how some Canadian players handle the ball, which means he should fit right in at RIT. Whether it’s a ground ball or a toe drag past an approaching defender, Corry always looks to be in control. He’s skilled as a shooter and has the range to score from 14 to 15 yards. On film, it stands out as he’ll step into a shot that a defender doesn’t close out on because the defender isn’t used to playing someone who has that type of range. He shoots with his entire body, and borderline violently, generating power and velocity from his core and his legs. He’s solid in the defensive game and on the ride, and if he’s anywhere near a loose ball, it’s going to be his.
Bilbao has been a top weapon at Weston HS, a perennial power in Connecticut’s Class S. This spring, he’ll be suiting up for prep school juggernaut Avon Old Farms, a program that routinely has some of the top-ranked recruits in the nation and plays truly elite competition. Bilbao is a two-sport athlete, playing midfield in lacrosse and wide receiver in football. Watch him off the catch in lacrosse, and you’ll see a football skill set at work. He receives the ball and shakes his man like a receiver getting off the line in football, or separating on a screen pass. He has good downhill speed and combines it well with a strong change of direction. Bilbao’s skills make him good at separating on his own, but he really excels at punishing poor footwork or angle play from a defender. With his elusiveness and change of direction, a bad approach or an overplay to either hand will mean Bilbao is getting to the net.
Cheshire has had a positively loaded offense the last few years. Notre Dame signee and All-Americanwill get a ton of headlines as a top five player in the country, and rightfully so. All-American Charles Kurtz graduated in 2023 and is now at UMass, where he may push for playing time right away. Jason Raba was a spectacular attackman in the 2022 class now at St. John’s. This year, while Jeffery will still get top billing, expect to see more players embrace the opportunity to shine as featured weapons. Grevelding is one such player. A natural lefty, he has a long, lean frame and is very good at gaining leverage on his defender. Can he dip his shoulder into his defender’s chest and use body position to get topside, especially well from the low lefty wings and from X. He handles contact well, and isn’t afraid of soaking a hit around the crease for a good scoring opportunity. Grevelding amassed over 100 points a year ago, and could be a bigger part of the offense this year.
Greenwich HS, more than most other schools in the FCIAC, loses a ton of talent to CT private schools. With national power Brunswick right down the road, it’s not much of a surprise, but the program produces some excellent players thanks to a robust youth program and its ability to develop players who come to the game late. Critchell is the latter. He didn’t start playing lacrosse until his freshman year, and didn’t start facing off until his sophomore year. In that short time, he’s become a serious weapon for the Cardinals at the faceoff spot. Critchell trains with Noah Rak, a former UMass faceoff specialist who also played professionally, and works with Face-Off Academy, where he has trained with other elite prospects like the Duke-bound Ben McCarthy. Critchell is a three-sport athlete, and despite him being new to lacrosse, he’s not just out there winning on athleticism and hand speed. He has his wings just where he wants them on every draw. He doesn’t just try to pop it forward to himself every time, he’s understanding what’s going on around him and going to where possession can be won. Critchell coming to lacrosse late meant he got on the recruiting radar late, but he’ll be a steal for someone.
It hasn’t been easy to see Shannehan over the past year. A hip injury forced him to miss a significant chunk of time at the end of last lacrosse season, and caused him to miss all but two tournaments last summer. But anyone who did see him saw the potential in the lefty. His versatility is his biggest strength. You can expect to see Shannehan play midfield or attack for Fairfield Prep this spring. As a midfielder, he’s an immediate mismatch with a short stick. He can take a defensive midfielder to an invert or to the low wing, and from there get topside with speed as a dodger. One staff who did get to see plenty of Luke was Boston U., and the Terriers had already secured a commitment from Luke’s older brother Tim. Both brothers are dynamic dodgers and scorers. Shannehan has been having an exceptional fall. Fairfield Prep graduated a stacked senior class a year ago, opening the door for some underclassmen to take over and drive the offense. Expect Shannehan to be one of those players.