12/11/2018 11:13 AM
Follow Leading Edge on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Despite the fact that his older brother, Owen, plays at Johns Hopkins, one of college lacrosse's perennial powerhouses, it took some time for Reid Colwell to put himself on colleges' radars as a prospect in his own right.
"I never talked to any college coaches before this fall, and when I was ninth grade or even last year and all the kids around me were getting looked atm, it was tough, because you start asking yourself, 'when's my time coming?' Colwell said. "Ultimately, though, it just made me realize that I have to get better at the things I'm not as strong at. It definitely puts a chip on your shoulder because no one knows who you are, and you have to make the best of it."
The Leading Edge 2020 and Westfield defenseman wasn't physically ready to be one of those early commits that populated the class of 2020, and despite the fact that he put together a strong summer, Colwell knew that he still needed time to develop after colleges started reaching out to prospects on Sept. 1. Some of it was out of control, but that became a moot point when he continued to sprout up and put on size. The other part of it, though, fell right in line with that chip on his shoulder.
"I had to be more physical and more present on the field," Colwell said. "I got bigger and stronger, and I started playing more physical. I think that helped me and showed that I could play at that level."
This fall, everything fell into place for Colwell. He grew to 6-1, 185 pounds, more than enough size to push attackmen around the field, and he brought the physicality after playing outside linebacker on the football team.A player who prides himself on his patient approach to the game on the field used that same mentality when it came to his recruiting. College coaches took notice, too, and it wasn't long before Colwell was in high demand.
"I thought it was really cool to hear from colleges after that," Colwell said. "You've had this dream your whole life, and all the hard work has paid off, and now something that you've wanted to do your whole life is coming."
One school stood out above the rest, though. Colwell cast his eye on Philadelphia's Main Line and once he analyzed everything, he realized that Villanova had everything that he could ask for in a competitive Big East program with excellent academics and a little bit of everything that Colwell was looking for. He decided to make the call for the Wildcats, becoming the ninth Leading Edge 2020 to commit, all to Division I schools, and the team's first Big East commit.
"I loved everything about it," Colwell said. "I loved how everything was close together, and I'm interested in studying communications. I just thought they had everything going on there, and I also really liked how there are so many successful sports teams there. The (defending national champion ) basketball team is great, obviously, but it seems like every team is pretty good, and it's cool to be a part of that."
Colwell was able to earn some playing time on man-down for Westfield this spring, which did wonders for his confidence, as is the custom for most players who play varsity as underclassmen. He backed it up by standing out on the back end for Leading Edge throughout the summer and fall, and playing against the best competition in the country helped springboard his game to an elite level.
"Playing with Leading Edge is way better than a high school-level team, because it helps so much when you're playing with and against the best," Colwell said. "It helps to have our coaches, especially a guy like Chris Roy. That guy pushes you, and when you're down on yourself and you're not playing well, he helps get it out of your head and all of a sudden, you're playing well. There were times where I'd have a good game, then the next game I'm not playing too well and I'm having second thoughts about whether I could be a D-I athlete, and he helped me through that."
For Roy, it was particularly rewarding to see Colwell find a collegiate home because of the work that Colwell put in to get there.
"It's really a testament to Reid's work ethic and the time he put in that he was able to end up at Villanova," Roy said. "Once he started growing into his body, you could tell that he became so much more confident in his abilities, and he was a problem for teams to handle this summer and fall. He was awesome throughout the fall and you could kind of see that he'd finally arrived to where he wanted to be. It's hard not to root for a kid like that, and I think that (Villanova coach) Mike Corrado and his staff should be very excited about getting a player and person like Reid, whose best days are ahead of him. I can't wait to watch him thrive as a Wildcat."
LEADING EDGE 2020 COLLEGE COMMITMENTS
Jack Aimone, midfield, Hunterdon Central - Rutgers
Evan Barr, goalie, Somerville - Duke (Commitment story)
Luke Blanc, attack, Seton Hall Prep - UMass (Commitment story)
Reid Colwell, defense, Westfield - Villanova
Jack Cooleen, defense, Lawrenceville - Dartmouth (Commitment story)
Colin Freer, defense, Westfield - Princeton
Connell Kumar, midfield, Seton Hall Prep - Virginia (Commitment story)
Cole Krauss, LSM/D, Delbarton - Duke (Commitment story)
Kyle Stephenson, midfield, Seton Hall Prep - Rutgers