Feature photo courtesy of William Stewart Photography.
Putting a bundle of lacrosse balls down on the freshly cut grass 10 yards away from the goal, Connor Shellenberger tones his lacrosse shot with an incredulous amount of practice.
Shellenberger, the top ranked recruit in the sophomore class, announced his commitment to the University of Virginia, his hometown team on October 19.
“I’m excited to announce my verbal commitment to the University of Virginia,” said Shellenberger. “I believe the program is heading in the right direction and is on its way to being back at the top. I’m looking forward to growing my relation over the course of the next couple years with the coaching staff and the school.”
On October 11, Shellenberger came home from his second visit from Virginia.
“(Playing for Virginia) is definitely intriguing,” Shellenberger said. “My high school is literally across the street, so all the support, press and comfortability makes it a great fit.”
Securing such a highly talented recruit is a big victory for head coach Lars Tiffany and his staff in his first year at Virginia, coming over from an incredible last season at Brown University.
“I love Coach Tiffany,” Shellenberger said. “Coach (Sean) Kirwan is one of the best offensive coordinators in the game and Coach (Kip) Turner is awesome too.”
Before he committed to Virginia, Shellenberger said last week that he wasn’t opening his recruitment to any schools other than Duke and Virginia. Virginia did not only have the advantage over Duke of being close to home, but their recruiting class fits better with Shellenberger’s position.
“Their recruiting class lines up pretty well for me where there aren’t that many attackmen coming in,” Shellenberger said. “We are actually putting in their offense in for our high school, so I will have that under my belt.”
Being the number one ranked player in his class, Shellenberger committed early to Johns Hopkins University. However, he made the announcement on his Twitter that he was reopening his recruitment on October 5.
“Over the course of the last month or two, I really didn’t think going to Hopkins was the right fit for me, both academically and lacrosse-wise,” Shellenberger said. “It was a tough decision, but ultimately I feel good about it.”
As the number one ranked recruit in the sophomore class, Shellenberger denied any added pressure.
“It only makes me work harder,” Shellenberger said. “For some other recruits maybe it would be (some added pressure) but for me it will motivate me to not taking any games off in the fall or summer.”
Shellenberger separates his game from other top recruits through the speed and power of his shot. He may have the best shot not only in his 2019 high school graduating class, but also perhaps in all of high school lacrosse.
The right-handed sniper attends St. Anne’s-Belfield in Charlottesville, Virginia—right down the street from UVA. It was ironically former Johns Hopkins University star Paul Rabil who showed Shellenberger how to shoot so effectively. When Shellenberger was 11 years old, Rabil taught him three shooting drills he does every time he shoots at an indoor clinic.
Shellenberger added those to his practice routine. These drills gave Shellenberger the accuracy and power that he utilizes in his game today, making him one of the most well-known recruits in the country.
St. Anne’s-Belfield offensive lacrosse coach Nate Rullman spoke of Shellenberger’s “insatiable appetite” to win and get better every day. Shellenberger’s competitiveness and amazing shooting ability was showcased in front of his coach and teammates during a recent team shoot-around.
“A couple weeks ago, when I would go out and shoot with these guys, and someone brought a radar gun.” Coach Rullman said. “I have never had anyone shoot faster than I do, but a couple shots in and Connor shot 101 mph, and I was like oh great.”
Rullman spoke of how impressed he was with Shellenberger’s work ethic at such an early age, even calling him, “mature behind his years.” Shellenberger’s lead-by-example mentality makes him the top recruit in his class.
Virginia is fortunate to have secured the much sought after Connor Shellenberger, who has one of the fiercest shots in high school lacrosse.
Edited by Megan Smedley.
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