bcoakley Ben Coakley of Hunterdon Central High School in Flemington, N.J., provided Towson University’s men’s lacrosse program with a first.

The agile and athletic left-handed attackman decided on the Tigers, marking Towson’s first Class of 2016 tristate verbal. Coakley’s commitment was reported when it was made on Aug. 5 by Joe Lombardi on LaxLessons.com’s “Lacrosse Insider” section.

Towson had received a 2016 verbal prior to Coakley’s, but it came from beyond the tristate: defenseman/longstick midfielder Scott Barger of Juniper Serra (Calif.).

The 6-foot-1, 165-pound Coakley is a natural lefty but uses both hands equally well.

A feeder/finisher, he is dangerous from X, but can score and create plays from all over the field.

Now, here’s a Q&A with Ben on his commitment.

What were the main factors in your decision?
I want to major in physical education and Towson offers this major. (Towson Head) Coach (Shawn) Nadelen and (Assistant) Coach (Anthony) Gilardi were extremely knowledgeable about the major and passionate about their team. They spoke highly of their players and alumni at Towson.

I was able to watch Towson play this past spring at the Hopkins game and then went to the Drexel game. One of my best friends and lacrosse teammates has a brother on the team. I felt I had a connection to the team through visiting in the spring and it became a lot stronger once I got to meet the coaches and tour the entire campus.

What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
My choice was based on the major and there are only a few schools that have a physical education major in the area I wanted to travel to for college. At the beginning of the summer I had interest in Hofstra, Penn State and Towson.

What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
Head up and make the right decision. I have also played a variety of positions and that has made me aware of attacking the cage from different areas on the field.

Being an offensive player, we all like to score, but there is something special in feeding your teammates and having them rip a corner.

recruiting_updateWhat area of your game do you need to work on?
I have played on three summer club teams and now play with Leading Edge Elite. My coaches on each team have stressed the importance to work hard and good things will happen.

I constantly try to do new and different things on the field, but have realized this summer that strength and speed will help me become the player I want to be. I will continue to work with my trainer to get stronger and faster. I’m sure football will also help me get stronger for the lacrosse season.

How did you get introduced to lacrosse and what other sports have you played?
I have two older brothers who play lacrosse. I have been to countless games from spring to summer and fall.  Where ever there was a wall or goal, I was playing.

Our youth organization in Flemington (Little Devils) is excellent and run by some dedicated lacrosse families. I started playing in the third grade, and continued to play throughout the year.

I play football in the fall and some lacrosse tournaments with my friends from town as well. We also play box in the winter which is a lot of fun and allows me and my friends who use to play basketball do something in the winter with lacrosse.

What travel team do you play on what showcase events did you participate in?
I am a first-year player for Leading Edge Elite 2016 team. This team has played together for quite a few years ,so it was fun getting to know the guys on the team.

We have some excellent lacrosse players and get to practice at Rutgers, so the facilities are great. Leading Edge is part of the NSCLA, which proved to be one of the best tournaments I have ever played in. The competition was the best and it set the tone on how hard we needed to work as our summer season progressed.

I was fortunate to play in the Adrenaline Black Card Showcase prior to this event and that was a lot of fun. I have never played in front of so many college coaches and I was nervous, but excited as well.

We also played at the University of Delaware at the MVP tournament. We made the championship, but got rained out so we could not get the game in. I was named to the all-star game with six of my teammates.  I think this kind of shows how good our team is and I know we will only get better.

We then played at Lafayette in the 2016 Leopard Classic, and were the champions.

Then, it was off to the Best of the Best on Long Island and Jersey Shoot Out (champions) before we finished up at University of Maryland at the Terps Young Guns Shootout. We were able to get to the finals and beat the Dukes so walking off the field as champions in Byrd Stadium was definitely a highlight of the summer for our team.

Any final thoughts?
I would like to thank all the coaches and teammates that have helped me become a better player. Coach Mike Vergalito, Coach Tom Bill and Coach Bob Schroeder from Hunterdon Central, Coach Joe Anderson and Bill Brandt from my youth and middle school teams and Coach Kerry Weigner for running our box league and shooting clinics in the winter.

The coaches at Leading Edge Elite have been great. Coach Chris Roy, Zack Trent and Nick Fillipone have been supportive and motivating so that we can all become the best player possible.

My family has played the largest role with my brothers Ryan and Mike keeping me focused and always reminding me to get better at school and lacrosse.

Have a recruiting commitment to report? Email us at info@laxlessons.com or joe@laxlessons.com or send a Tweet to @Joe_Lombardi or @LaxLessons.

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Posted In: New Jersey lacrosse, Recruiting updates

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