The transfer portal has ushered in a new era in college sports. Players can seek out a new situation for any number of reasons. Sometimes they are looking for a better fit, either from an athletic or academic standpoint, sometimes it’s just taking a grad year (several even, for football players).
This offseason, lacrosse players have been on the move. For some programs, it’s a regular part of the routine. A new stream of talent that is available to help elite teams stay elite. For others, it’s a path to the elite tier. Grab a few diamonds in the rough from the portal and elevate the program to new heights. The blue bloods, like Duke, UVA, or Syracuse will be seeking out the names that casual fans already know. The Ivy league star who is doing a fifth year and has to do it outside the Ivy is getting the call from the ACC heavyweights. Other programs like Jacksonville seek out talent across DI, DII, and DIII, bringing in both players that might have gone unnoticed or underappreciated by the heavyweights and top level players that believe in the program. The Dolphins activity in the portal has been one of the reasons they’ve become a Top 20 mainstay.
This year, the portal has again rearranged the college lacrosse landscape. Princeton’s crew of nine seniors all transferring, and dispersing across the DI ranks, saw a number of programs add All American talent. DII and DIII studs have joined DI programs. These players will change the fortunes of their teams. There are quite a few that I’m particularly excited to watch as fall ball approaches. Some are the names you already know, some might not be (yet). Blue chips or diamonds in the rough, all these players can be major impact names come springtime.
The Tufts Trio. Jack Boyden to UVA/Kurt Bruun to Ohio State/Mason Kohn to Syracuse
Jack Boyden was sought after by multiple top 20 DI programs. He chose Charlottesville, and left the Jumbos to do a 5th year at UVA. A DIII Player of the Year, Boyden is already an NLL draft pick, and is definitely on the radar of PLL coaches. The Ontario native has a whipping 310 career points. 290 of them came in the last two seasons. Boyden registered 157 points in 2023 and spent most of the season getting face guarded. UVA has plenty of weapons, and fans who don’t watch much DIII lacrosse may think UVA is getting a decent weapon, role player type. Make no mistake, Boyden can show up and be a top three weapon on this team. A Charlie Bertrand type glow up is on the horizon. Boyden isn’t the only Tufts stud heading to DI in 2024. Keep an eye on the Buckeyes, and when you do, find Kurt Bruun on the field. Bruun was the #2 option for Tufts last season. He had 109 points last year, though his point totals on the career seem low. Don’t let them fool you. 2020 was lost to COVID, and 2022, his junior year, was lost to a leg injury. 2023 was his first full year as a starter, and put astonishing skill and athleticism on tape. At 5’10, 200 lbs, he’s built like a pit bull but with the agility of someone 30 lbs lighter. Finally, Mason Kohn. Only two players in the nation had a better winning percentage at the faceoff spot this year. Kohn was the best in DIII, and heads to Syracuse this spring. Kohn is fast and very good at winning the ball cleanly to himself, and he attacks the goal well. He averaged a shot on goal per game in 2023, and had 10 points on the season. A unit featuring Kohn and a combination of Matt Wright and Saam Olexo will do some serious damage off the faceoff.
Nick Alviti, LSM, UVM to Maryland
Alviti absolutely tore it up at UVM, and now heads to Maryland. Alviti is the career leader in caused turnovers at UVM. He is third all time at UVM in ground balls, and the two guys ahead of him are the faceoff specialists. Alviti was first team all conference twice, and with the opportunity to play at Maryland, could earn All American looks this year. He’s a native of New Fairfield, and his ability off wings and in transition might remind you of another New Fairfield LSM, CJ Costabile. As for athleticism, in high school, he was voted the best dunker on the basketball team.
Jack McKenna, Attack, Fairfield to Ohio State
OK, maybe the CT bias is starting to show a bit, but stay with me. McKenna was the CAA Rookie of the Year at Fairfield. Physically, he’s a monster. 6’6, 240 lbs. His freshman year he worked off ball, playing in front of the goal and looking like Wilt Chamberlain in basketball, just physically too much of a mismatch for defenders to handle. He developed his stick skills to be effective as an offball threat and it led to a 43 goal season (averaging a hat trick per game). His sophomore season, he got to be more of a dodger and initiator, again using his physical advantages to get to spots on the field where he can be dangerous. Starting his dodges at the end line, McKenna reaches GLE in only a few strides. He’s taking that giant frame to Ohio State. Physically, he’s a one for one replacement for the now graduated Jack Myers. McKenna doesn’t have the same speed as Myers, but if he continues to hone his stick skills, McKenna can step in right away and be a matchup nightmare.
Toron Eccleston, Attack/Midfield, Lenoir-Rhyne to St Joseph’s
Eccelston really hit my radar last spring. He’s been a three year starter at Lenoir-Rhyne, who won the DII national championship last year. He was taken 6th overall by the Georgia Swarm in the NLL draft this year. At 6’4, 230 lbs, Eccleston has deceptive speed for his size. As you can imagine given that NLL draft spot, he’s a master at creative leverage and winning as a physical dodger. I have replayed a moment from the title game in my head a few times since I saw that really raised my eyebrows. Eccleston dropped back on the ride as Mercyhurst was clearing. A midfielder got a pass from the goalie, and had a run up to where Eccleston was standing flat footed. It looked like the middie ran into a brick wall and bounced off. Eccleston planted him, took the ground ball, and had the game not already been a blowout, would have scored. In three years as a primary weapon for Lenoir-Rhyne, he averaged about 50 goals a year. He shared the ball well their with other top players like Myles Moffat, showing that he’s not a one man show overpowering lesser players. He shot 40% for his career there. He’ll head to St Joseph’s, and the pairing of him and Levi Anderson, another 1st round NLL draft pick, will result in fireworks all year for the Hawks.
Jake Stevens, Midfield, Princeton to Syracuse
All of the Princeton transfers, as mentioned, will be major impact players. Beau Pederson could be the top true SSDM taken in the PLL draft next year, Sam English is an immediate first line midfielder at Cuse and joins Stevens there. But Jake Stevens' game excites me most because of how effective I think he’ll be with this cast, and ultimately at the pro level. Stevens was drafted 10th overall in the NLL draft, he’ll be one of the top midfielders available in the PLL draft next April. He’s an excellent shooter and finisher, doing both off the ball with the skill of an attackman. He had multiple 60+ ground ball seasons at Princeton. He can defend, he can play wings. An Ontario native who went to Culver and then Princeton, the path of quite a few stud lacrosse players over the years. Similar to Zach Currier in the way that he won’t even appear at the top of columns when you look at the stat sheet, but he’ll jump off the screen when you watch him play; he’s involved in every play. As more and more teams at the pro level look for versatility in the midfield and on offense, Stevens’ value skyrockets. At Cuse this year, he’ll bring his game to an offense where Joey Spallina, Finn Thomson, and Owen Hiltz will be dodging with their heads up. An outstanding fit.
Anthony Caputo, Midfield, Pace to Jacksonville
John Galloway has a knack for finding not just contributors, but major players from the portal. Bringing in talent like Max Waldbaum from DIII, or Dylan Watson from a DI blue blood like Georgetown, the Dolphins do as good a job as anyone in lacrosse at reloading their roster. They also do it without upsetting the apple cart; they never bring in players that they’d have to reshape their identity to accommodate. They’ve once again been very active in the portal in a number of spots, particularly on defense with players like Chris Darminio from Lynchburg. The midfield got beefed up too, and Anthony Caputo is some beef. At 6’0, 210 lbs, Caputo running downhill has been a scary sight for defenders in the NE10 for years. He is a three time DII All American. He also was an outstanding high school football QB. Caputo shot 31% in 2023, and had just 12 turnovers in 15 games while racking up 32 goals and 26 assists. That’s a stat line of someone who runs an offense with care and precision. Caputo, and DIII transfer Dalton Hubbs, add a whole new level of physicality to the Jacksonville midfield.
Caleb Creasor, Goalie, Lehigh to Marquette
Creasor spent four years as a primary backup at Lehigh. In the college game, he just hasn’t logged a ton of minutes. But the talent is undeniable. Creasor was a Team Canada alternate goalie for the World Championships in 2023. He’ll have a chance to provide some stability, as Marquette had four goalies make an appearance last year. Creasor will also be in net behind one of the top defenders in the country, Mason Woodward. I came into last year considering Marquette as a dark horse in the Big East, and they let me down a bit. I have learned nothing, and once again, will consider Marquette a dark horse in the Big East.
Devon McLane, Attack, Brown to Notre Dame
Devon McLane is an absurdly good attackman. He’s a walking hat trick. He wins ground balls and rides well enough to fit right in with some other attackman in South Bend. But I am most excited to see the edge that McLane plays with. If you want to look at someone who is under-appreciated for just how good he is, look no further. And it’s not because he plays in an under the radar conference or anything. It’s because he was at Brown, so the conference kept him off the field. After 2020 was canceled for everyone from COVID, lacrosse came back in 2021. For almost everyone. The Ivy didn’t. McLane played in two games, total, in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, finally with a full season to play, McLane registered 71 points and 47 goals, a top ten year in Brown history. McLane gets to take the ability he has to Notre Dame, the defending champ and thus brightest stage in college lacrosse this season, and show people what he can do. McLane could make up for two years of lost time in a single season.
Tanyr Krummenacher, Attack, Amherst to Rutgers
Obviously first teamer on the All Name team here. But with the memes out of the way, appreciate just how good of a scorer Krummenacher has been for Amherst. Krummenacher has two full years as a starter with the team in action, and has been excellent, but his 2023 was a leap. He put up 91 points, including 53 goals, and shot 37.1%. More than that, he puts up the points in the big games. Seven points against Tufts in their first meeting, four in their second. Five against Wesleyan. Eight against Middlebury. Four against Salisbury in the tournament. Rutgers has been taking the field with what they call the NASCAR offense. An uptempo team is getting a DIII star with a knack for finding the net. The Rutgers offense is always stacked, but if Krummenacher can find his spot and fill a role, he’ll have a ton of success with this personnel.
Jake Titus, SSDM, Union to Syracuse
Titus has been one of if not the top SSDM in DIII over the past two seasons. At Union, he's been part of the starting SSDM pair since 2021. First team All Liberty League twice, First team all ECAC twice. First team All American. In 2022 he was third on the team in GBs, he also has a knack for causing turnovers, and is skilled enough to play in transition. With the poles that Syracuse has, and the goalie play of Will Mark, the Orange will have the opportunity to be dangerous off saves and turnovers, and run on teams that play carelessly. Titus fits right into that.
Seamus Fagan, Goalie, Hamilton to Rutgers
Fagan, like Krummenacher, is a DIII standout heading to Piscataway. Rutgers was aggressive in the DIII talent market this offseason between those two and W&L defender Harris Hubbard. Fagan has been a DIII Goalie of the Year, and a first team All American. His 2022 season, when he won Goalie of the Year, was exceptional, with a GAA of just under nine and a save percentage of 63.2%. Fagan had a regression in 2023, but still is a supremely talented goaltender. With Kyle Mullin graduated, the goaltender spot is available for the taking. Fagan will have to beat out some talented netminders to win it, but if he shows he can handle Big Ten shooters, he could have a big year for the Scarlet Knights.