Matt Shannon had his pick of Division I programs.
The junior defenseman from defending FCIAC champion Ridgefield had made unofficial visit to Hofstra, Fairfield, Towson and Syracuse, and was planning on visiting Loyola and possibly Notre Dame as well.
But that all changed last weekend. That’s when the 6-foot-4 Shannon visited North Carolina.
“I loved the campus from the second I arrived,” said Shannon, who has given a verbal commitment to join the Tar Heels as a freshman in 2011-12.
“The campus was great,” he said. “Even though it’s a large school, everything was in comfortable walking distance, and Chapel Hill is a great college town.
“The football stadium, Kenan, was awesome. It seats over 40,000 and the lacrosse team usually plays a few games a year there (in addition to the main lacrosse facility, Fitzer Field.) I was surprised to find out that both have natural grass fields, which will be a nice change of pace since I always play on field turf.”
North Carolina provided lots more to like besides its campus and facilities.
“Academically, UNC is pretty hard to top,” Shannon said. “On my visit, I got a chance to meet a lot of the guys on the team and I got along with great with them. I also got a chance to meet the coaches who are all great guys. And in terms of lacrosse, I think UNC is on their way to winning many more NCAA championships, and I’d love to be a part of that. Plus, they have the nicest jerseys and gear in the NCAA.”
Shannon is continuing an influx of Division I talent from Ridgefield. Four former Tigers are now freshmen at D-I programs attackmen Matt White (Virginia) and Colin Scott (Denver) and midfielders Matt Baker (Colgate) and Brendan Walsh (Fairfield). Two current Ridegfield seniors attackman Mike Galione (Lafayette) and midfielder Kurt Mueller (Towson) are also bound for D-I schools.
“The biggest adjustment will probably be getting accustomed to the speed of play in Division I, and also the fact that every player I face will be a scoring threat,” Shannon said. “I also need to get in the weight room and put on some muscle before I get to Carolina.”
The 190-pound Shannon, who is known for his tenacious style of play, lists former Syracuse University star defenseman Ric Beardsley, another aggressive defenseman, as the person he’d most like to meet.
For more on Matt Shannon, check out his recruiting profile by clicking here.