USLM's 2021 Division I Men's Preseason Positional Players of the Year


J.T. Giles-Harris is the anchor of a Duke defense that was a top-10 unit two years ago.

US Lacrosse Magazine announced Monday its 2021 Division I Men’s Preseason Positional Players of the Year, part of the magazine’s immersive coverage leading to the upcoming spring season.

Five players — an attackman, midfielder, defenseman, specialist and goalie — earned this distinction thanks to their performances during the 2020 season and our expectations for 2021.

Next Monday (Dec. 28), US Lacrosse Magazine will reveal its overall Division I Men’s Preseason Player of the Year.

Preseason Attackman of the Year
Michael Sowers, Duke

Princeton’s inflexible athletic eligibility rules, pandemic or not, forced Sowers’ hand. And it’s coming up all aces for Duke.

The Blue Devils already brought back the entirety of an offense that averaged more than 15 goals per game, led by breakout stars Dyson Williams and Owen Caputo. Joe Robertson, a 100-point scorer in 2019, returns after tearing his ACL. That’s not to mention No. 1 recruit Brennan O’Neill.

Duke has a lot of mouths to feed. In Sowers, it now boasts an elite feeder.

Preseason Midfielder of the Year
Ryan Terefenko, Ohio State

The Buckeyes’ Swiss Army Knife is a three-time USILA All-American and could very well have a Zach Goodrich-like capstone season that can’t be ignored for MacLaughlin Award honors even though he’s technically a short-stick defensive midfielder.

Already Ohio State’s all-time ground balls leader (139), Terefenko also was good for about a point per game during the shortened 2020 campaign. Two years ago, he even scored on a hidden-ball trick shot against Marquette.

Preseason Defenseman of the Year
J.T. Giles-Harris, Duke

The 2019 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Giles-Harris flirted with playing college football as a post-graduate. He’s got the DNA for it. His brother, Joe, plays linebacker for the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad.

But there’s unfinished business on the lacrosse field, where Giles-Harris is the anchor of a Duke defense that was a top-10 unit two years ago. The two-time USILA All-American has started every game since he first stepped on campus, leading the Blue Devils in caused turnovers the last two seasons.

Preseason Goalie of the Year
Drake Porter, Syracuse

Porter has led the ACC in save percentage each of the last two years, stopping 57.7 percent of the shots he faced and averaging nearly 13 saves per game during the abbreviated 2020 season. He also emerged as a leader when Nick Mellen went down with an injury, barking out coordinates to the defense and even showing Syracuse’s offensive players how sometimes they tipped off their shots. Porter is set to become the Orange’s first three-year starter in goal since John Galloway.

Preseason Specialist of the Year
TD Ierlan, Yale

A 2019 Tewaaraton finalist and the most decorated faceoff specialist in college lacrosse history, Ierlan owns nearly every meaningful NCAA Division I record for his position. The Albany transfer managed to sneak in a fifth semester at Yale that allowed him to be the only senior from 2020 to retain eligibility for 2021. Pro teams are licking their chops at the prospect of getting him next summer. 

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