It didn’t take long for Fox Lane rising senior Cameron Stephens to decide Ohio State was the right fit for him.
Stephens, a 6-foot-5 goaltender and member of the Hudson Valley Empire State Games team, told me early last night by phone that he has given a verbal commitment to accept a scholarship offer from the Buckeyes just minutes after wrapping up an unofficial visit at the school’s Columbus, Ohio campus yesterday.
After giving the commitment to OSU coach Nick Myers, Stephens then began contacting others schools that had recruited him to inform them of his decision — a process that ended this morning shortly before he boarded a flight back to LaGuardia Airport in Queens.
Stephens enjoyed a stellar debut season as Foxes goaltender last year, leading Fox Lane to an 11-6 season after going 5-12 the year before. He earned all-section honors.
Here’s a Q&A with Cameron on his commitment:
What were the main factors in your decision to commit to Ohio State?
OSU was on the top of my list from the beginning of my college search, starting back in November of last year. After visiting the campus I realized it was a place I could really enjoy myself on and off the lacrosse field.
I knew OSU had a great lacrosse program that is getting better every year. I wanted to be part of a team that had a strong sense of family as well. Coach Myers stressed the fact that family was very important to a successful and fun season — and that is exactly what I was looking for. Coach Myers also made it clear that I had a chance to play as a freshman if I work really hard in the classroom and on the rectangle in practice.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
I narrowed my decision down to West Point and Ohio State. I took unofficial visits to Maryland, Towson, Bryant, Salisbury and Delaware.
What adjustments do you think you will need to make to play at the next level?
I need to continue sharpening my technique and my clears to play at the next level. I am looking forward to focusing my athletic abilities on lacrosse as my sole sport in college and the coaching that comes at the next level.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
I have fast hands and feet and I am very vocal in cage. I would describe my style as workman-like. I’m in the cage to save the ball and be a leader, not to run it up and be flashy. I want to do my job my well and help make our defense run as a unit to prevent the shot in the first place, create turnover opportunities, and run the offense down. To me one of the best things in the cage is a four minute possession by the offense with no shot resulting in a turnover to our offense.
What players have you looked up to as you have moved up through the varsity ranks?
Dennis Butler, my position coach, has been a big inspiration to me. He was a very successful goalie at Pleasantville and Ithaca and he still plays in many indoor leagues and men’s leagues. He does all the things I want to do when I get into my 20s. Dennis improved my game ten-fold and he has helped me get to the level I am.
Luke Robinson, who is now at Ithaca, is a phenomenal goaltender and he presented big shoes for me to fill when he left Fox Lane (after three years as the starting goaltender, ending after the 2009 season). Watching him play and make great saves and great clears inspired me to try and be as good as him.
George Johnson was another inspirational figure. He was my coach in BYL (Bedford Youth Lacrosse), which is now FLYL (Fox Lane Youth Lacrosse), and really set the platform for making lacrosse important in my life.
When did you first realize you had the potential to play at the D-I level?
I felt good in cage all season and being named all-section made me realize I could be included in the same conversation with other great athletes from the Hudson Valley. After making the all-star teams at New England Premier, Top205, and Blue Chip I realized I could compete with the best competition out there, really from all over the country. And with conversations with many coaches at all these events from different levels, that’s when I started to realize that I could be a D-I prospect.
Posted In: Recruiting Rundown