Lamberti: College Draft Prospect Tiers

By Adam Lamberti | Apr 14, 2024

The 2024 College Draft presented by Q-Collar class has been shaping up to be a special one for years and now it’s finally here. Not only does this class include a talented group of ‘true’ seniors, but also graduate students who were granted an extra year of eligibility in 2020 due to COVID-19. Not only does this class have elite, top-end prospects, but it is deep and filled with potential starters to be found in later rounds and even after the draft.

Without further ado, let’s dive in. Because of how many deserving prospects there are, I decided to break the class into tiers. The tiers go as follows:

Tier 1: Blue Chip Prospects/Future All-Pro’s
Tier 2: Multiple All-Star Potential
Tier 3: Starters
Tier 4: Boom or Bust
Tier 5: Role Players

Tier 1

1. Brennan O’Neill - Attack, Duke

Put simply, O’Neill is the most physically gifted prospect we have seen for some time. He’s a rare combination of speed, strength, and power, and oh, some of the best stickwork we’ve ever seen on the field.

O’Neill put any concerns that his game won’t translate at the next level to rest with an MVP performance with Team USA this past summer, scoring five goals against Team Canada in a 10-7 victory.

There had been talk that O’Neill should slide to midfield given that was his role with Team USA, but a player like O’Neill should never leave the field.

Given his athletic traits, we should also see plenty of goals in transition/unsettled, a part of his game I think will particularly take off with the faster pace of the PLL.

He might be a top-3 player the moment he steps foot on the field this summer, and it would be an absolute stunner if he’s not the first player off the board.

Pro Comparison: Athletic Mark Matthews but can shoot like Logan Wisnauskas

2. Connor Shellenberger - Attack, Virginia

The complete package at attack. Like O’Neill, there’s really not much on the field he can’t do.

He just makes everything look so easy. He can shoot the ball with both hands, both on the run or stationary, and has terrific vision and feel behind the net. Shellenberger strikes a great balance of letting the game come to him but also taking over when he needs to.

He can change direction on a dime while moving full speed, and when coupled with his lacrosse IQ, is why he’s one of the most difficult covers in lacrosse.

Has been one of the best (if not the best) players in college since 2021 when he was a redshirt freshman; don’t expect that to end when he reaches the professional ranks.

The expectation is he will rejoin 2023 Virginia linemate Xander Dickson with the New York Atlas at #2 overall.

Pro Comparison: 70% Rob Pannell, 30% Chris Gray

3. Pat Kavanagh - Attack, Notre Dame

I will admit that I’m not blown away by Kavanagh as a prospect as I was in 2023, but he’s still very much a top prospect.

The first thing you’ll hear about Kavanagh is that he’s “gritty” and “tough”, which is true and a big part of his game. He has set the standard for riding attackman, generating countless turnovers and goals on the ride with his brother Chris at Notre Dame. But make no mistake about it, Kavanagh is just as polished a prospect as O'Neill or Shellenberger.

He plays with so much fire and energy, but rarely does it seem like he’s out of control. He’s a terrific feeder, even more so than he gets credit for, and dodges well through contact on his way to the net.

Like Shellenberger, he lets the game come to him, but presses the issue when he feels necessary. He also has a fun creativity about him. He routinely makes plays that you don’t understand how it works, but it does.

The Maryland Whipsnakes at #3 would be a terrific landing spot for Kavanagh. He could run the offense at X without having to consistently be "the guy," as he would be flanked by former MVP’s Zed Williams and Matt Rambo.

Pro Comparison: If Grant Ament played like Ryan Drenner

4. Liam Entenmann - Goalie, Notre Dame

Entenmann’s resume should speak for itself. The top goalie in the country, he’s an elite ball-stopper with exceptional positioning and size.

What sets him apart from other goalies is his ability to command a defense, as well as his consistency for the duration of the game.

Anyone that takes him is getting a locked in starter for 10+ years. The New York Atlas could be eyeing him up at #5 after acquiring the pick in a trade with the California Redwoods for Chris Gray.

Pro Comparison: Kind of like Matt DeLuca, but mostly just his own category 

Tier 2

5. Ajax Zappitello - D, Maryland

Pro Comparison: Smaller Matt Dunn

6. Matt Brandau - A, Yale

Pro Comparison: Marcus Holman 

7. Jake Stevens - M/SSDM, Syracuse

Pro Comparison: Right-Handed Zach Currier

8. Shane Knobloch - M, Rutgers

Pro Comparison: Tucker Dordevic

9. Eric Dobson - M, Notre Dame

Pro Comparison: Sam Handley with a dash of Chris Aslanian

10. Mason Woodward - LSM/D, Marquette

Pro Comparison: Left-Handed Ryland Rees

11. TJ Malone - A, Penn State

Pro Comparison: Left-Handed Matt Moore

12. Graham Bundy Jr. - M, Georgetown

Pro Comparison: Early Career Sergio Perkovic

13. Beau Pederson - SSDM, Michigan

Pro Comparison: Ian MacKay

14. Kenny Brower - D, Duke

Pro Comparison: Matt McMahon with a hint of Gavin Adler

Tier 3

15. Scott Cole - A/M, Lehigh

16. Will Mark - G, Syracuse

17. Garrett Degnon - M, Johns Hopkins

18. Tyler Carpenter - LSM, Duke

19. Jacob Piseno - LSM, Albany

20. Roy Meyer - LSM, Boston University

21. Jacob Morin - M, Army

22. Scott Smith - D, Johns Hopkins

23. Payton Cormier - A, Virginia

24. Chase Yager - SSDM, Virginia

25. Brendan Lavelle - D, Pennsylvania

26. Matt Knote - G, Massachusetts

27. Jackson Bonitz - D, Navy

28. Jake Naso - FO, Duke

29. Luke Wierman - FO, Maryland

30. Brett Martin - SSDM, Johns Hopkins

31. Nick Harris - SSDM, Notre Dame 

Tier 4

32. Chayse Ierlan - G, Johns Hopkins

33. Dylan Hess - SSDM, Georgetown

34. Ross Scott - A, Rutgers

35. Michael Boehm - A, Michigan

36. Josh Zawada - A/M, Duke

37. Dyson Williams - A, Duke

38. Saam Olexo - LSM, Syracuse

39. Levi Anderson - A, Saint Joseph’s

40. Dylan Pallonetti - A, Stony Brook

41. Mason Kohn - FO, Syracuse

Tier 5

42. Alec Stathakis - FO, Denver

43. Jacob Angelus - A/M, Johns Hopkins

44. Chris Conlin - D, Notre Dame

45. Patrick Morrison - D, Boston University

46. Matt Wright - LSM, Syracuse

47. Justin Wietfeldt - FO, Michigan

48. AJ Mercurio - LSM/D, Denver

49. Stephen Zupicich - LSM, Villanova

50. Vince D’Alto - A/M, Boston University

51. Mustang Sally - SSDM, Loyola

52. Mike Robinson - A, Delaware

53. Dalton Young - A, Richmond

54. Alex Vardaro - M, Georgetown