The web site naplesnews.com announced last week that High School freshman Olivia Ferrucci has committed to play for the University of North Carolina. Only in her fourth year of playing lacrosse, Ferrucci is quoted as saying that she is confident in her decision for three years from now.
The Barron Collier girls lacrosse program has sent almost a dozen players to college in its brief history, but the most recent commitment might be the Cougars' biggest yet.
Freshman Olivia Ferrucci has committed to play for the University of North Carolina. The Tar Heels not only are an NCAA Division I program, but they're among the best teams in the country. North Carolina ended the regular season ranked No. 3 in the nation this year.
"It's big-time," Barron Collier coach Chris Claussen said of Ferrucci's college choice. "It's about as big as you can get."
Ferrucci is the fourth Cougars player to commit to a Division I program in the past month. She becomes the 10th player in Barron Collier's eight-year history to commit to a college, but the first to do so with a school in a traditional power conference (North Carolina is in the Atlantic Coast Conference).
Though she is young and has only been playing lacrosse for four years, Claussen thinks Ferrucci can be one of the best to come through his program. The Cougars coach called Ferrucci the most talented athletes he's ever coached for a variety of reasons.
"She has every quality you ever look for in an athlete," Claussen said. "She has good size, great feet. She works unbelievably hard."
On the advice of a club coach who recognized Ferrucci would be a highly-sought recruit, the freshman has been looking at colleges for some time now. She visited Florida, Georgetown, Maryland and Johns Hopkins. She first visited North Carolina in January and has been back several times since.
Tar Heels coaches offered Ferrucci a scholarship on her last visit to campus. Though she won't graduate for another three years, Ferrucci said she is confident on her commitment.
"It really felt right to me," Ferrucci said. "I didn't feel like waiting was going to help me at all. I have specific goals I want to do with my life in and out of lacrosse, and I feel like UNC will help me accomplish those."
Ferrucci started organized lacrosse while living in Sarasota, though she played around with older brother Mario for years before that. Her father, Mario Ferrucci III, has coached lacrosse in the past, and played hockey in college.
An all-around athlete, Ferrucci played soccer for almost 10 years. After moving to Naples before the start of this school year, she started for Barron Collier's district championship basketball team. Her mother, the former Kay Gammon, played basketball at Colby College in Maine.
Ferrucci cannot sign a letter of intent to make her commitment official until her senior year, but she doesn't anticipate changing her mind. Although she committed very early in her high school career, she said she did plenty of research and took her time to make sure it was the right choice.
"I was ready to commit earlier than I thought I would be," Ferrucci said. "When I was on campus, I felt welcomed and really just fell in love with the school."
Last week Barron Collier senior Mary Kate O'Sullivan committed to Stetson. In late March juniors Sam Jaffe (William and Mary) and Hayley Carroll (Campbell) made their decisions. Claussen said he expects more players from this year's team to play in college as well.
I would not encourage my child to commit that early. In fact, I would discourage it, unless said child had been hot for that school all his/her life (I have one child that falls into that category so I have to clarify).
At that age, they change all the time from what food they like (how many of us have boxes of food from Costco that our kids "used to like"?), their friends, the stores they think are cool, etc. That's just their age and stage, trying new things on for size and moving on. To expect one of them to commit to something very big four years in the future is just not wise, IMNSHO.