We know one thing, he sadly can’t go back to Princeton. Last week Princeton axed the concept of withdrawing and re-enrolling for all student-athletes and in turn this has left Michael Sowers forced to spend his 5th year elsewhere. Leaving him and the lacrosse world with an even bigger question, where will he go?
Sowers scored 47 points through only 5 games in the 2020 season, averaging 9.4 PPG. To put those stats into one word, ABSURD. Any DI school would be looking to add him to their arsenal for 2021 but due to certain league Graduate Student restrictions, Sowers is unable to play at another Ivy League school or a Patriot League School.
Sowers has publicly stated he wants to win a championship. He wanted to win one with Princeton. If he could, he’d go back to Princeton but that’s not an option any more. Now in choosing where to go, he’ll obviously have to factor in which schools work best with him academically, along with his on-field goals. That said, there are only a handful of schools that have both strong graduate programs, as well as a lacrosse team with the potential to play on Championship Weekend. For the purposes of this list, we wont really dissect why these schools academically, but rather focus on their lacrosse programs. They are:
Sowers to Duke seems like it could be the favorite. The Blue Devils return talented players to put around him and are bringing in the best high school player in the country in Brennan O’Neill. Dyson Williams was coming into his own before the season was cut short but expect #51 to be a starting lineup mainstay in Durham for years to come. Imagine an attack unit of Sowers, Williams and O’Neill. Sounds pretty lethal. However, it can’t be forgotten that Joe Robertson missed the 2020 season due to a torn ACL. If Sowers ends up at Duke, what does that do to Robertson? What does that do to JP Basile who looked on pace to man the X attack position in 2020? There’s a lot of questions on how Duke could get Sowers to fit in, but with Coach Danowski’s pedigree, connection to team USA and Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, Sowers could certainly end up in Durham.
Less questions with this one. Sowers would have the opportunity to pretty much fill in Grant Ament’s vacancy and quarterback the Nittany Lion offense. With Mac O’Keefe committed to going back as well, PSU would have a dynamic 1-2 punch. Toss in Dylan Foulds who might also be back, Coach Tambroni’s guys would once again be loaded on attack. Does this work? Yes. Does Sowers want to go somewhere where he’ll have to fill in for someone who has the history and program changing ability of Ament? Not sure. Regardless, Sowers is from the greater Philly area and you’d be wrong to rule out an in-state reunion for his final year.
Huh? Yeah, at first sight this may look a bit odd, but hear me out, the Hoyas are a legit landing spot for Sowers. To start things off, rumor has it GTown was Sowers’ second choice out of high school, so he’s familiar with the program and University (to a degree). Next, he would fit in so well in their offense. Jake Carraway already announced he’ll be returning to the Swamp for his 5th year. Carraway has had a stellar career and was the QB of the offense in 2020, taking over for Dan Bucaro. Also returning is Dylan Watson, who’ll be entering his junior year. The Canadian lefty was tied for the team lead in goals in 2020 with 23 and had a strong freshman campaign in 2019. If Sowers ends up in DC, he’ll have the opportunity to play with two guys who suit his playing style very well. Carraway would maintain his position on the right side, where he can initiate from the wing and is a lethal stretch shooter. Sowers would fill in at X and assume his natural position. That leaves Watson on the left side as the finisher, off-ball specialist. This set up is one that pretty much mirrors what Sowers has been playing with at Princeton, just flipped. At Princeton, Sowers ran with Phillip Robertson, a right-handed, primarily off-ball threat and Chris Brown, a lefty stretch shooter who excelled in transition and operating from the wing. Toss in the fact that Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business is one of the best in the nation, seems like a pretty good fit to me.
Sorry Dome fans, he ain’t going to ‘Cuse. I know there’s the narrative of “what if you reunited him with OC Pat March?” but personnel wise, this isn’t a good fit. ‘Cuse just gave Scanlan the #22 jersey, so what would Sowers even wear?? Scanlan has the keys to the Orange offense and they also have Griffin Cook at X. They could run Scanlan out of the midfield like he ran at Loyola but it seems like Desko wants to keep him down at attack. I know there was some Twitter buzz about this move but I just don’t see it playing out. Especially when the rumor was about a Newhouse School of Communications Grad Degree, which for a kid with finance internships sounds a bit funky.
UNC is pretty much the same deal where it doesn’t seem like the best fit personnel wise. Why would Sowers want to go to Chapel Hill and have to compete with Chris Gray for touches? Gray operated primarily at X and the right side this season, the two places where Sowers dominates. UNC also has Nicky Solomon who was having a strong season as he and Gray appeared to be developing very strong chemistry. Academically, UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business is amongst the best in the country but like the situation at ‘Cuse, UNC doesn’t appear to be a good on-field fit.
I tossed this one in last second and keep going back and forth over how it works. Personnel-wise, it could work. Notre Dame pretty much gave Pat Kavanaugh the keys to the offense as a freshman. #51 will be back. They also have Griffin Westlin returning on the left side. Sowers could be the other attackman with them but there’s a lot of returning personnel questions for the Irish. I mean, we haven’t heard what Bryan Costabile is looking to do. Even if he does return, schematically that would be a big difference from what Sowers is used to. ND loves to initiate from the midfield. It’s been their bread & butter for nearly the past decade. Sowers is used to an offense that initiates from down low. As for academics, Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business suits Sowers academic interests and in even offers a 1 year MBA program. So who knows what could happen there.
At the end of the day, all us pundits can do is speculate. Lacrosse Free Agency is a new thing for all of us and it’ll be exciting to see how things will shape out.