The scene is unusual, really. It unfolds on practice fields in College Park and will do so each week as Maryland’s lacrosse season progresses.
It’s like the sight of Gulliver in Lilliput. Maybe Paul Bunyan just about anywhere. In this case, it’s Will Yeatman on a lacrosse field, effortlessly backing hulking defensemen toward the crease.
There is nothing either legendary or fictional about the 6-foot-6, 260-pound attackman who landed at Maryland after a tumultuous 2008. Still, he represents quite a bit about lacrosse’s changing dynamic.
He’s huge. He’s from the West Coast. He can pass as well as he can shoot. And his errors are magnified more than his predecessors’.
Indeed, the sport’s biggest offseason development involves one of its biggest players. Yeatman played football and lacrosse at Notre Dame before leaving at the end of the fall semester, his athletic commitments slashed in half with a move to the East Coast.
“It certainly had its trials and tribulations, and I definitely learned from everything that went on,” said Yeatman, who debuts Friday when Maryland meets Presbyterian. “It wasn’t easy on me, but I think I definitely grew as a person because of all the tough situations I went through. I think for me, it was a time in my life where I thought I just needed a change.”
He’s a long ways from his San Diego home. He’s close to his family’s Annapolis-area roots and finally in tune with a sport he grew up loving. Now the junior provides hope No. 3 Maryland can win its first national title since 1975.
“This guy could be a first-team All-American, a player of the year candidate,” ESPN analyst Quint Kessenich said. “He’s a nightmare matchup. Put him alongside [Grant] Catalino, and teams have to account for two guys who weigh more than 250 pounds. We’ll see if he can keep his nose clean. That’s the bigger concern.”
No looking back
There’s always that caveat with Yeatman, whose lacrosse skills remain unquestioned. He had 45 points in 2007 at Notre Dame, but two miscues slowed his career.
In January 2008, Yeatman was arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence, which cost him all of last season. In September, he was suspended after an underage drinking arrest, though no charges were filed in that incident.
Yeatman insisted he was surrounded by supportive coaches and teammates at Notre Dame. But as the fall unfolded and he had time to assess his situation, he realized a fresh start might be best.
“It was a time in my life where I said, ‘Look, if I want to come out of here and truly be a happy person and really change as a person, I think I need to have a change in my life,’ ” Yeatman said. “I’m really happy I wound up here. It’s been a great fit for me so far.”
The same is true of the Terps, who return their top six point producers from a year ago. Their offense figured to be a strength even before Yeatman settled on a transfer to Maryland, and his arrival only enhances the Terps’ potency.
And those off-field questions?View Entire Story
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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