Since we first reported on July 25 on our Lacrosse Insider section that Smithtown East (N.Y.) faceoff specialist Gerard Arceri had become Penn State’s first 2016 tristate verbal, the Nittany Lions have been on a roll when it come to landing verbals from sophomores in the nation’s No. 1 hotbed for lacrosse.
In fact, in the five weeks since then, PSU has picked up four more, including attackman Cole Willard of Cazenovia High School, which has won two New York Class C state titles the last three years, became the latest 2016 tristate standout to verbal to Penn State.
Willard’s verbal as a 2016 commit was first reported when it was made on Aug. 13 by Joe Lombardi on LaxLessons.com’s Lacrosse Insider special coverage section.
The 5-foot-11, 155-pound Willard told Joe that he is planning on a post-grad year at this point, but now, three years prior to such a possibility, he, of course, is classified as a Class of 2016 commit. Further, high school student-athletes cannot learn if they gain admission to their post-grad school of choice until March of their senior year.
Willard, a quick and athletic righty, is an aggressive player with good speed, quick hands and outstanding field vision. He also excels in soccer and hockey for the Lakers.
You can watch Willard’s highlight reel here.
What were the main factors in your decision?
After visiting the campus and meeting with (Penn State Head) Coach (Jeff) Tambroni, I felt that Penn State offered everything that I was looking for academically and athletically.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
I also visited Maryland and Syracuse and considered Cornell.
What area of your game do you need to work on?
This coming season I am going to work on being a more effective shooter with my opposite hand and work on getting faster and stronger in the off season.
How did you get introduced to lacrosse?
I was introduced to lacrosse at a very young age by my father (Cazenovia junior varsity coach Brian Willard) and his two brothers who played lacrosse at the University of Maryland.
What travel team do you play on what showcase events did you participate in?
I have played with the Orange Crush for the past two summers and the Cold Brook Lacrosse Club in Lake Placid. This summer, I attended the Orange Crush College Showcase (all-star team), Jake Reed Nike Blue Chip Rising Sophomore Camp and the Maverik Showtime Lacrosse Camp (all-star team).
Any final thoughts?
I would like to especially thank my dad for coaching me and for motivating me to be the player that I am today.
I would also like to thank (Cazenovia varsity) Coach (Jim) Longo for giving me the opportunity to be a part of a state championship team.
Lastly, I would like to thank my Orange Crush coaches for all of their advice and support.
Lacrosse Insider: College-by-college commitments by class
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