Five LSM prospects who could replace Michael Ehrhardt

By Adam Lamberti | Apr 10, 2024

There’s good news and bad news for the Whipsnakes’ LSM position heading into the 2024 season.

The bad news? Five-time reigning Brodie Merrill LSM of the Year winner and future first ballot Hall of Fame Michael Ehrhardt retired at the beginning of April.

The good news? The LSM class in the upcoming 2024 College Draft is the deepest and most talented we have seen in some time.

Let’s take a look at five LSMs that the Whipsnakes could target to help replace Ehrhardt:

1. Jacob Piseno - Albany

Hand up, I had Piseno too low in my initial rankings. I had him at #18 overall and the #2 LSM prospect. I think there’s a chance he could go as high as #4 overall to the Carolina Chaos.

While Piseno is listed as an LSM on the Albany roster, he’s played down low for most of this season, usually guarding the opposing team’s best attackman. Piseno has also appeared on Albany’s EMO unit. And it’s not just a gimmick; Piseno legitimately is probably one of the top six or seven guys on the team you want out there. 

He has rarely been tested this season on the defensive end this year as offenses have chosen to attack elsewhere so there isn’t a ton of film to go off of, but being named best defender at the 2023 World Games as a college player should tell you all you need to know. His signature check is his over-the-head check, which he lands more often than not (he’s done it to both Rob Pannell and Connor Shellenberger).

Off-ball, Piseno is just as solid, and constantly directs his teammates where to be. He has terrific anticipation, jumping passes regularly and just causing havoc for his opponents.

Piseno has all the makings of a solid close defender, but then you watch him in the middle of the field and in transition and you say man, this is what makes him special. It seems like every loose ball comes up his, usually ‘goosing’ it to himself out of traffic.

He can handle and shoot like an offensive midfielder in transition, but he can even stay on in settled offensive sets and he is more than capable of dodging starting defensive midfielders.

I really like his intelligence in the open field, where he is constantly making the right read to pass or shoot. He’s also extremely savvy in the substitution game. On shots in his defensive end, he flys upfield immediately, trusting his goalie will make a clean save and hit him in stride in transition. When the transition opportunity is done, he looks like he will be subbing off the field, but then wheels around and looks for a numbers advantage, where he's scored numerous times this season.

I spent a few hours watching him to try to find a weakness in his game, and I’m not sure there is one. Maybe a bigger midfielder flying hard downhill on a dodge but hey, who wouldn’t struggle with that?

Unless the Whipsnakes reach on Piseno at #3 overall, there’s no way he’ll be available when the Whipsnakes pick next at #17 overall.

2. Mason Woodward - Marquette

Like Piseno, Woodward has spent most of the season guarding attackers down low, but his skillset is suited as an LSM in the pro game.

While many have said Piseno is far and away the top LSM in this class, I believe the gap isn’t as wide as many believe.

Put simply, Woodward is an absolute vacuum off the carpet. His ability to come up with seemingly every 50/50 ball is uncanny. While maybe not the polished offensive threat Piseno is, Woodward still tallied five goals last season and takes his opportunities when presented.

While I don’t expect him to be around for the Whipsnakes second pick at #17 overall, Woodward and the Whipsnakes would be a perfect fit given Woodward’s versatility. 

3. Tyler Carpenter - Duke

Moving into the more traditional ‘LSMs’, Carpenter has been one of the best in the business for a while.

Carpenter has all the traits that you want in an LSM. He’s great off the ground, has a good handle in transition, is a capable goal-scorer, and a solid defender.

A battled-tested LSM, Carpenter has played in some big-time games as a Blue Devil in the ACC, and has proven every year that he is more than ready for professional play.

He seems like a player that’ll be a steady starter at that LSM position, and in my opinion, the most likely to end up a Whipsnake, again potentially at that #17 pick.

4. Roy Meyer - Boston University

Meyer is another player that fits the more ‘traditional’ LSM mold.

I think Meyer is right on Woodward’s heels as being the best defending LSM in this draft class. He has slightly below the offensive skill set as the other LSMs do (that’s not to say he still can’t score), but Meyer’s defense more than makes up for it.

He looks unassuming, but plays with terrific angles and terrific footwork on-ball while playing with great anticipation off-ball, like a ball-hawking safety in football.

Like all great LSMs, he’s excellent off the wings as well and has a good handle.

While his 2023 and 2024 stats don’t pop off the page compared to his 2022 season, he’s still a 2x First Team All-American and in my estimation, will be a steady starter at that LSM position for any PLL team.

Don’t be surprised at all to see him selected #17 overall by the Whipsnakes. In fact, he or Carpenter would be a terrific selection that should have Whips fans fired up.

5. Saam Olexo - Syracuse

I have Olexo a notch below the other four LSMs listed, but that doesn’t mean he’s still not a good prospect.

Olexo is an offensive threat, tallying 18 points in his career while shooting 40%. He’s been Syracuse’s top LSM for 3 years now, playing in a gauntlet of a conference in the ACC. His freshman year he appeared as a short-stick defensive midfielder, making his versatility an intriguing thought for PLL coaches.

My concern about Olexo is his on-ball defense, which is why I have him a tad lower than the other four.

He’s good, and he obviously wouldn’t be starting for Syracuse for three years if he weren’t, but in the professional game where everyone is a dodging threat, I have my concerns about how he’ll hold up.

That being said, his offensive upside in a fast-paced program will be appealing to many coaches.

I wouldn’t take Olexo at #17 overall, but if the Whipsnakes were to take him at #27 overall (their last pick), or nab him if he went undrafted, he would be an intriguing selection given the upside.