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Army has broken through into the tristate recruiting Class of 2019.
The Black Knights’ first commitment comes from Canyon Birch, a versatile attackman from Manasquan (NJ), a decision first reported by Joe Lombardi on LaxLessons.com’s Lacrosse Insider premium coverage section.
The 5-foot-8, 176-pound Birch, a righty, combines skills with a strong shot and impressive physical strength. He dead lifts 415 pounds, squats 340 and benches 260.
Now, here’s a Q&A with Canyon on his commitment.
What were the main factors in your decision?
The opportunity to attend one of the top academic institutions and to play lacrosse at one of the country’s best programs. I have always admired West Point, the West Point alumni and the education they have received while attending West Point.
I respect (Army Head) Coach (Joe) Alberici and the great job he is doing at Army. I am really looking forward to playing for Coach Alberici. I would like to contribute in every way I can in the classroom and on the lacrosse field.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
I have had the opportunity to visit a lot of schools because my older brothers went to a lot of prospect camps and I would go with them. My oldest brother (Blaine) is a sophomore defensive midfielder at the University of Tampa. My brother Jarrett is a high school junior and one of our team captains at Manasquan High School. We travel together to a lot college prospect camps to get college coaching experience.
I visited Fairfield University and the University of Albany. I really like Coach Marr and Coach Copelan. I have also been very impressed with UNC and Notre Dame.
Have you decided what academic major you plan to pursue?
I have not really decided on an academic major yet. I am only 14 years old so I feel I have some time to decide. I am looking forward to West Point and the opportunities that will be available to me.
My brothers are interested in accounting and that could be a possibility in the future for me also.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
My lacrosse IQ from watching a lot of video and the strength I have from getting to the gym. I like to study Lyle Thompson’s and Connor Cannizzaro’s style and how they react to what the defense gives them. I think my style is more power than anything else. I like to read the defender and react to what he gives me.
What area of your game do you need to work on?
The area of my game I need to work on most is the speed of my dodging. I sometimes slow it down to read when I need to work on reading the defense at a faster speed. I believe this separates the good players from the great players.
How did you get introduced to lacrosse and what other sports have you played?
I was introduced to lacrosse in third grade by my brothers. We are all lacrosse/football players. I was playing baseball also until fifth grade. I stopped to focus more on lacrosse. I started on the fifth/sixth grade team as a close defender.
I loved playing defense, but after sixth grade I switched to playing attack. When I started playing with a short stick it was a lot easier than a long pole. The long pole definitely helped me become a better short stick.
I also play football. I am a running back and linebacker.
What travel team do you play on and what showcase events did you participate in?
I play travel for Ric Beardsley’s Upstate Lacrosse Club in Syracuse. I recently played in the NXT Fall Freshman Philly Showcase in November and the NLF 2019 Showcase at IMG Academy in January. Both had very good competition and were a lot of fun.
Any final thoughts and people you want to thank for helping you reach this point?
I am very fortunate to have good coaching. I work a lot on the little things that my coaches teach me. I believe to be a top college lacrosse player you need to work hard in school, the gym, and on the field.
I want to thank Coach Beardsley at Upstate Lacrosse in Syracuse. He is a really good coach and we have a lot of fun playing for him. He was an All-American at Syracuse and he knows lacrosse.
I would also like to thank Coach Ross Turco at Tristate in New Jersey. He has taught me a lot about offense and body positioning.
And I would like to thank my Manasquan High School Coach Sean Cunningham and my shooting coach Denis Noonan from the N.J. Emeralds for all the time they have worked with me.
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