Jesuit students have always been known for excellence in many aspects, particularly athletics, having dominated the competition since the TCIL days. Although Jesuit always sends many athletes to play on a collegiate level, the class of 2013, especially, supports one of the most athletically gifted classes ever, with six athletes, mere juniors, having already committed to play college sports.
Lacrosse players Dan Morris, Garrett Van de Ven, Hunter Hill, and Sam Rosengarden, along with the football stars of Jake Oliver and JJ Gustafson, have all committed to play division-one college athletics in their respective sports.
Morris, the star goalie for the lacrosse team, became the class’s first commit on November 28, 2010, becoming the first lacrosse player from Texas to commit during his sophomore year by accepting an offer from the University of Maryland. The fact that Maryland, currently ranked sixth in the USILA coaches’ lacrosse rankings and one of the most prestigious lacrosse programs, extended an offer to Dan in his sophomore year only underscores his amazing talent.
When asked why he committed so early, Dan remarked, “I knew where I wanted to go and they offered me a spot on the team and a scholarship and I figured then was the right time. I visited UNC [University of North Carolina] and Maryland and then I had about a month to think about it and then I knew I wanted to go to Maryland.”
Following Morris’ path to an elite lacrosse program, midfielder Garrett Van de Ven committed to Duke University, another prestigious program ranked tenth in the UCILA coaches’ rankings in September 2011. “I’ve always really liked Duke since I was very little and when they called and told me they were interested in me it was just a dream come true,” Garrett claimed. Rounding out the lacrosse commits are defender Hunter Hill, who will follow in the steps of 2011 graduate Richie Sapp and play for the Air Force Academy, and midfielder Sam Rosengarden, who will become the first Jesuit lacrosse player to play for Jacksonville University, a program new to division-one that is quickly on the rise.
Ranked the 61st best football recruit in the nation by Rivals.com, star wide-receiver Jake Oliver made headlines when he committed to the University of Texas in February. “I chose Texas because it felt like the best place for me. I love the city of Austin, I love the coaching staff, and I love the winning tradition. I just love the program and I knew after my Junior Day it was the right place for me,” Oliver explained.
When asked why he committed his Junior year instead of waiting until after his senior season, Oliver responded that, “the recruiting process started for me pretty early, so I had already been through what [recruits] are going through now, so I felt like it had been long enough and that I’d searched everything out.” Expanding on the idea that he can finally relax and focus on senior year, Oliver joked, “I haven’t gotten fifteen calls a day now! It’s been relaxing and I like it a lot!” Although lots of talent comes with tremendous pressure, by “prioritizing” and “learning how to focus on football and school at the same time,” Oliver has found a way to cope. And perhaps even more importantly, Oliver has stayed humble, voicing his opinion that “it’s a great honor to be a big recruit and I love every minute of it.”
Despite record receiving numbers by Oliver, offensive tackle J. J. Gustafson is not caught in Oliver’s shadow, and not just because he’s 6’5’’ and 270 lbs. Gustafson committed to Texas A&M University in February and said, “I like the family feel of the school and the appeal of playing in the best conference in the world [SEC] but still being able to stay close to home. It was very appealing to me. I took a visit to the school in February and I met with the head coach [Kevin Sumlin] and all the offensive staff and as I was driving home from the visit I realized it was the place for me.”
Although the class of 2013 is already full of talented college commits, expect many more to come by signing day next year as more are expected in nearly every sport, from football to crew.