Thomas O’Connell is the first Flyer.
When it comes to the Class of 2015, at least.
As first reported last night at Twitter.com/joe_lombardi, one of the nation’s premier programs, Chaminade High School (N.Y.), saw its first sophomore college commitment completed when O’Connell verballed to the University of Maryland.
The 6-foot, 165-pound O’Connell is an athletic and physical two-way midfielder with good field vision. A natural right-hander, O’Connell, who also plays football and basketball, is strong with either hand.
Now, here’s a Q&A with Thomas on his commitment.
What were the main factors in your decision?
The main factor for me choosing Maryland was the quality of the education and the academics at the university. Another important factor was the opportunity to play for (Head) Coach (John) Tillman and (Assistant) Coach (Ryan) Moran with the chance to play for a national title.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
West Point, North Carolina, Yale, Michigan and Villanova.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
As an athletic midfielder, I can play both offense and defense, with good field vision and the ability to find the open man. I also like fighting for ground balls and playing physical defense.
What areas of your game do you think you need to work on?
Tightening up my stick skills.
Who have been some of the biggest influences on you during your development as a player?
Coach Gene Isnardi who talked me into giving up baseball and staying with lacrosse, his help in my development, and for his guidance in the lacrosse world. And of course my Long Island Junior Lizards Lacrosse Coach Todd Esposito, who has coached me and worked on my lacrosse game the last four summers and help develop me into the player I am so far today. And my dad, who is not a lacrosse guy, but has driven me around weekends in the summers, out of state to all those different lacrosse tournaments.
What travel team did you play on and what were some of the big showcase events you participated in this past summer?
I was invited to Jake Reed’s Nike Blue Chip Rising Sophomores Camp. My summer travel team was the Long Island Junior Lizards and we played at the Tri-State Nationals, the Long Island Laxfest and the Lehigh Laxfest. I also was invited to play with FCA at the US Lacrosse U15 National Championships in Orlando and took home the silver medal.
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