Lake Norman (Mooresville, N.C.) senior midfielder JT Del Tufo has verbally committed to play men's college lacrosse for Mercer University.
Del Tufo totaled 28 assists and scored 14 goals last season, earning All-Conference honors.
Mercer University is a Division I school located in Macon, Georgia. The Bears are entering their 2nd season as a Division I program this spring.
ESPN High School: What other school’s did you consider?
JT Del Tufo: “University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth and High Point.”
EHS: What made Mercer such an attractive choice?
JDT: “1. Dr. of Pharmacy program (what I plan to study). 2. Great reputation for academics. 3. Division I and strength of schedule, even though it's a newer program. 4. Southern Location. 6. Connected with the coach. 7. Facilities will be some of the best around once the new football stadium and 5000 square feet field house and work-out area is complete. It's only going to be used by the Lacrosse and Football team, that's a pretty cool thing. 8. Medium sized school - not too small, not too big.”
EHS: What surprised you about the recruiting process?
JDT: “That it's really much harder to get on the radar when you are from an area like N.C. I was born and lived in Maryland until I was nine, I can't help but wonder if it would have been different for me if I would have stayed living in Anne Arundel County, Md., which is a hotbed. Also, I missed my rising Junior summer club season due to a broken femur I suffered in March of that year while playing Lacrosse. Most of the big Division I programs were already done recruiting before I even had a chance to get my name out there. But I am very happy with my choice and I would have probably picked Mercer anyway because I preferred to stay in the South and it has my major.”
EHS: What was the most important question you asked college coaches during the process?
JDT: “What style of play their team uses and where I would fit in on the team. Also, I feel that most of the time you either click with someone right away or you don't. It's important to feel that you have a good rapport with that coach from the get-go.”
EHS: What one piece of advice would you give to other players who are just starting on the recruiting process?
JDT: “It's obvious that the recruiting process is starting earlier and earlier. You got to research the college first to see if it fits your needs and then you got to get your name out there like crazy. I would also suggest if there are one or two schools that are your top choices, go to their camp. You get an edge on starting the "getting to know you process" with that particular coach.”
EHS: Is there anything about the recruiting process that you think could change that would have made it easier or less stressful for you?
JDT: “Yes, college coaches need to realize that the talent pool is in other areas and states now. I mean, of course the Northeast has the strongest reputation for quality lacrosse, but honestly, I have competed against elite teams from all over the U.S. and Canada and every team has some serious strong talent out there. Players from the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Texas, need some serious looks from Top 20 programs.”
E-mail lacrosse editor, Mike Loveday, at Email Michael.Loveday@espn.com with commitments. Follow Tom Peace on Twitter @HSLaxInsider