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Seven Reasons Why Notre Dame Men’s Lacrosse should be on your mind right now

It’s fall and the defending national champions are making headlines

Notre Dame Men’s Lacrosse sharing their trophy with the Pat McAfee Show
Photo Credit: ND Lacrosse X handle

Well you thought for this week you would be getting an article on the “Seven Reasons Why Notre Dame Beat Ohio State?” Yeah, I did too and up until about three seconds left on the game clock on last Saturday night in Notre Dame Stadium, the article was getting put to draft in my head and I was ready to go. Needless to say, it was all for naught as that nightmare unfolded right before my very own eyes in person in South Bend as our Irish fell to the Buckeyes on the final play losing 17-14.

I am not going to dwell on that game anymore as I gave all my thoughts in my most recent Exit 77 podcast and feel free to have a listen there. Plus, I cannot write this column without a win by our Irish as we are counting down the wins this year as we make our march toward eleven victories. And it’s not funny how “eleven” is the number, not “ten” which we saw on the field on the last two plays of the game. But I am trying not to digress again....

All right, as we are not writing about football this week, time to get back to my writing roots and get back to some Notre Dame Men’s lacrosse news and keep you all updated around the team and what is taking place for our defending National Champions as we get the new school year underway. “Defending National Champions,” that has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Without further ado, let’s get into “Seven Reasons Why Notre Dame Men’s Lacrosse should be on your mind right now.”

#1 - The Pat McAfee Show loves Notre Dame Lacrosse:

For those of you who caught it, the day after ND lacrosse won the championship, Pat McAfee had Pat and Chris Kavanagh on his show as guests as they celebrated the Irish’s winning of the national championship. They talked through the adversity that the team and the Kavanaghs went through as the squad won their first ever championship trophy. Fast forward to this past weekend, and on Friday the lacrosse team took center stage on the show again. It was so cool to see the relationship created between the boys and the show and they got to show off the hardware while also covering off on what they have been up to of late.

As revealed on the Pat McAfee Show, Pat Kavanagh has a torn labrum that he will be recovering from during the fall. It was news to us fans and even news to Pat as well as he revealed on the show that his shoulder was bothering him of late and test results showed that he tore his labrum during the Final Four. So not only did he have his hamstring issues across the Final Four, but he also had a hurt labrum too. Guttiest lacrosse performance of all time? It has to be right up there for sure.

This will be the second fall in a row that Pat will miss, but once again, this will give some younger players the chance to step up, get some playing time, make a name for themselves and see if they can break into the rotation. We all know what Pat can do, so time for him to rest up and be ready to go in January/February.

#2 - Fall Practice is underway:

According to Twitter, Fall Ball practice got underway on September 16th as the Irish got back on the field. There is a lot of knowns with our Irish coming off last season’s championship, but there are also a lot of unknowns. And Fall Ball is an opportunity to get the boys back together, to welcome the new members to the team and give those who are looking to play a larger role on the team, a chance to shine and prove their worth. It’s an exciting time and reports will be few and far in between around what we will see and learn about our team, but hopefully we will get some news as the fall semester moves along. Things that I would be monitoring if I could:

Who steps up at midfield following the loss of some key graduates? Who are the two other close defensemen that will play along side Marco Napolitano? How does Will Angrick look coming back from last year’s injury? Who are our other SSDMs this year that will play alongside Parlette and Ramsey? How are our transfers fitting in and what role will they play? Who will take Joe Boyer’s spot at LSM? Which freshmen will look to challenge for playing time? Any other underclassmen who have improved their game and are pushing for the field?

It’s an exciting time and best of luck to the team across these months.

#3 - Transfer Rankings are out for this upcoming season:

We all know how big of a part transfers played for last year’s team with Chris Fake, Brian Tevlin, Jack Simmons and Chris Conlin all playing pivotal roles for the team. This year will be no different as the Irish welcome Jake Bonomi (Michigan), BJ Burlace (Maryland), Devon McLane (Brown) and Danny Parker (Virginia) as our key additions to the squad. Of late, the Irish have been strategic in bringing in the right transfer players that will fit into our system and also players who will get along with the current roster. With that being the case, I would imagine that each of these four will be seeing a good amount of time on the field as fall ball gets underway. And Inside Lacrosse had this to say in their Transfer Rankings as they ranked Devon McLane as their #7 ranked transfer for the upcoming season (they also ranked Jake Bonomi as #23):

“Brennan O’Neill, Andrew McAdorey and Dyson Williams return in tact as Duke’s starting attack, as Pat Kavanagh, Chris Kavanagh and Jake Taylor at Notre Dame. That means each it’s likely that Zawada and McLane run out of the box. With Garrett Leadmon, Owen Caputo, Tommy Schelling, Quinn McCahon, Jack Simmons and Brian Tevlin gone, there should be plenty of opportunity in each team’s top two midfield lines. As attackmen, they definitely bring different skillsets to the table than all those guys except Schelling, and it’ll be interesting to see how he coaching staffs incorporate each guy’s ability to invert, run two-man games and their balance of scoring and distributing as both find new roles.”

#4 - Are you paying attention to recruiting? Well you better as Notre Dame’s 2025 recruiting is OFF THE CHARTS:

If you don’t know by now, lacrosse recruiting officially got underway on September 1st as juniors in high school (Class of 2025) could start to officially talk to coaches, officially visit campuses and then commit to the college of their choice. The two places to find out about the top players in the class are through NLF Rankings and Inside Lacrosse. If you are a lacrosse junkie, these two sites will give you all you need to know about the top 50 or so players in the class, and as September has gotten underway, they are the spot to find out around who is committing and where they are committing. To say that Notre Dame is recruiting at a high level is an understatement. They are recruiting at an ELITE level and a tremendous job has been done by Coach Corrigan, Coach Wellner, Coach Wojcik and Coach Garnsey. This 2025 class (now it is still early and none of these kids have signed letters of intent, these are just verbal commitments) could turn out to the best ever for Notre Dame from a rankings perspective. Clearly what the Irish are doing both on the field and off is being noticed by recruits and it is driving high level results as the class is currently ranked #1. According to Inside Lacrosse, the Irish currently have eleven players committed and across them they have the #8, #15, #17, #19, #22, #25, #33 and #48th ranked players. And across that they have four 5-star players and seven 4-star players. According to NLF Rankings, we have the #9, #12, #16, #22, #23, #33, #39, #45, #57 and #59th ranked players (four 5-stars and seven 4-stars).


#5 - The ND vs USC football game will be when the lacrosse team gets recognized:

Don’t think I have seen it announced anywhere yet, but according to some of the parents of players on the team that I have been talking with, the ND vs USC football game on October 14th will be the game where the lacrosse team will get recognized on the field by Notre Dame. Would imagine it will be during one of the timeouts at some point in the first half, but if you have the chance to be at that game, look out for the honor as the team will be brought out onto the field and raise the trophy to celebrate with 80K fans. Let’s Go!

#6: Just because, let’s revisit this play from May last year:

Yeah, I can’t get enough of this play from Jake Taylor last year. It was one of the best goals I have ever seen in my life, not only just from a pure shot perspective, but also because of the situation and the time that it took place. It was incredible and seeing it live and in person on that day in Philly was just....chef’s kiss.

And in case you missed it, here is my retrospective from this past summer on Jake Taylor and how he has forever changed Notre Dame lacrosse.

#7 - In the End, it all comes down to the people you meet:

Life is about relationships. It’s about who you meet along the way and one of the best parts of me writing for OneFootDown and covering the Notre Dame lacrosse team has been some of the people I have met because of these writings. I have connected with so many people including coaches on the team, people in the athletic department, parents of players, other writers, announcers, etc. And one of those great people that I have connected with and become friends with has been Fred Assaf. It has been awesome getting to know Fred, his wife Martha and meeting their boys over this last year (one of their sons is Sam Assaf who is a player on both the football team and the lacrosse team). This past weekend we got the chance to hang out a little bit before the Ohio State game and that was just a ton of fun saying hello, catching up and spending some time together. Fred is the absolute best, and in the end, I know that one of the things I will remember most about covering the Notre Dame lacrosse team is the relationships that have been made. That’s what it’s all about (pic below of Fred and me).

Can’t wait for the upcoming season here in the spring and getting my second season of covering the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team underway. “Time to Be Great” and defend that championship.

Go Irish!

And you better believe I will see you next week for “Seven Reasons Why Notre Dame Beat Duke.”