“He’s had to learn some things the hard way and made some mistakes, but he’s willing to do what it takes to let people know what a nice kid he is,” coach Dave Cottle said. “He’s been a great teammate so far, a hard-working kid. I think he understands where he fits in here. There won’t be a screwup, I promise you that. That’s not the kind of kid he is.”
Earlier this month, Cottle passed Yeatman in the team house to discuss some extra shooting, pointing out his new player’s tendencies depending on the situation.
It was a reminder that Yeatman is far from a finished product, and he’s quick to acknowledge some lingering rust. But his contentment is undeniable; for the first time in his life, he isn’t juggling multiple sports.
“He’s just happy to get back out there,” said Johns Hopkins defenseman Matt Drenan, who grew up playing football and lacrosse with Yeatman. “He’s enjoying playing again and being in a place where feels like he’s comfortable - finally.”
A relaxed Yeatman sets up the possibility of a rare player in the burgeoning sport. Kessenich praised both his footwork and his hands and said Yeatman “makes a lacrosse stick look like a toothpick.”
Then there’s his superlative passing, which makes his size - and ability to see over most players - even more dangerous.
“[Assistant coach Ryan] Moran made an interesting comment: Instead of coining him a jack-of-all-trades, he called him a king-of-all-trades because his skills are a little better than a jack’s,” Cottle said. “You see things every now and then in practice… where you say, ‘Whew, that’s pretty good.’ ”
A lingering question is how soon he might resume his second sport. As part of the NCAA’s transfer rules, Yeatman must sit out the 2009 football season, and he will use his final two years of lacrosse eligibility before he has a chance to play tight end again.
At this stage, that’s enough for Yeatman.
“I was playing football and around a lot of football stuff, but the one thing that genuinely made me a happy person was playing lacrosse,” he said. “I definitely want to play football here. I played in every game at Notre Dame, so I think and I’d hope they’d want me to play football here, too.
“But right now, my focus is on the sport of lacrosse, and I couldn’t be more excited about that.”
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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