South Lakes senior Peter Moran committed to play lacrosse at Richmond last week. (Photo courtesy Craig Lunde)

South Lakes senior Peter Moran had narrowed his college lacrosse options to a pair of Division III schools earlier this year, focusing his attention on College of Wooster in Ohio and Roanoke College in Virginia.

Those plans changed shortly after a strong showing at the National FaceOff Combine in January when Ohio State and Richmond entered the picture. Both teams had holes to fill in the upcoming recruiting class for a face-off specialist and made late scholarship offers.

Last week, Moran orally committed to the Spiders, pledging to join a fledgling program that will begin Division I play next spring. He plans to make it official during the next signing period, which begins on April 17.

“I wasn’t content with D-III, but I thought that’s what was going to happen,” said Moran, a fourth-year varsity starter at the Reston school. “It was a little bit frustrating because I knew I could play Division I. I tried to stay optimistic.”

While early recruiting has become the norm in college lacrosse with many of the country’s top sophomores and even a few freshmen orally committed, Moran’s story shows that late bloomers can still find their place at the top collegiate level with a little luck.

Moran, now 6-foot, 185 pounds, has grown two inches and packed on 20 pounds since last spring. He boosted his stock as a legitimate Division I prospect last summer when he made the all-star team at two top recruiting camps.

Still, Moran had to wait months for his first scholarship offer. The Buckeyes had a spot in their class come open unexpectedly, and though the player had first reached out to Richmond Coach Dan Chemotti shortly after he was hired in October, the coach took his time deciding to offer.

Moran made official visits to both schools last month and was ultimately swayed by the plan laid out by Chemotti, the offensive coordinator behind Loyola’s national championship team last season. In their inaugural Division I season, the Spiders will play in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

“I could see where [Chemotti] wants to go with the program, and it’s really exciting to me,” Moran said. “The school is really behind the team, and it seems like a great environment to play in.”

South Lakes (3-1) has improved rapidly with the Moran in the lineup. Prior to his freshman season, the team had gone 29-90, and since then, it has a 25-18 record.

This season, Moran has done it all for the Seahawks, showcasing an expanded two-way game. He’s won 78 percent of his face-offs (44 of 56) with four goals and four assists.

“For us, he never comes off the field,” said Coach Craig Lunde, who took over the team in 2010. “I’ve got him taking every faceoff, and he’s clearing and he’s down on offense. Then, he’s bringing the water bottles to everybody and doing the dishes.”

Recruit Watch: The latest offers, commitments and signings

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