May 28, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A record six members of the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team were selected in the Major League Lacrosse Draft Sunday. Three Buckeyes – Johnny Pearson, Tyler Pfister and JT Blubaugh – were drafted by the Ohio Machine, the Atlanta Blaze picked Jake Withers, Tom Carey was drafted by the Denver Outlaws and Eric Fannell was a selection of the Rochester Rattlers.
The six Buckeyes selected bring the total Ohio State players drafted in the Major League Lacrosse Draft to 18. The previous high was in 2013, when Logan Schuss, Dominique Alexander and Kevin Mack were all drafted. In 2016 (Robby Haus, Carter Brown), 2015 (Jesse King, David Planning) and 2004 (Tony Russo, Greg Bice) two Ohio State players were chosen. Other drafted Buckeyes include Joe Meurer (2014), Brock Sorensen (2012) and Kevin Buchanan (2008).
Withers, a USILA All-American this year as a faceoff specialist, was a first round pick, chosen by the Atlanta Blaze at No. 9. He is the third Buckeye first round draft choice, joining Buchanan (No. 5) and King (No. 6). The Big Ten Specialist of the Year for a second straight year, Withers, from Peterborough, Ontario, ranks fourth in the NCAA and first in the Big Ten in faceoff winning percentage (.658) and is seventh nationally with 7.6 groundballs per game. He has won 267-of-406 faceoffs on the year, including 17 games with double digit victories, with a league-high 152 groundballs. As a Buckeye, Withers, a two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection, has won 59.8 percent of his faceoffs (606-of-1013) and has 344 groundballs while playing in 63 games.
The Rochester Rattlers chose Fannell, an attackman and native of St. Catherine’s, Ontario, in the second round with the 13th pick. A USILA Honorable Mention All-American and First Team All-Big Ten pick, he joins Meurer and Schuss as second round choices. On the year, Fannell has a Buckeye-best 30 assists and 66 points, ranking second with 36 goals. He has a goal in 17 of 19 games played this season, with a point in 18 of 19 outings, including 15 multiple point performances. A two-time USILA Offensive Player of the Week, Fannell has 33 points in his last eight games combined.
Pearson, from Langley, British Columbia, was chosen by the Ohio Machine in the sixth round (No. 53). He has played in all 20 games this year and has 25 goals and 32 points, all career highs, with eight multiple-goal outings. Pearson has played in 32 games for the Scarlet and Gray and has 47 goals, 10 assists and 57 points as a midfielder.
A midfielder from Columbus, Ohio, Pfister was chosen by his hometown Ohio Machine in the seventh round with the 63rd pick. A two-time team captain, he has played in all 20 games this season, starting the last 18, and has a career-best nine goals, five assists and 14 points. He has seen action in 55 games for the Scarlet and Gray, with a 20-11-31 line in his career.
Carey, a goalie from New Canaan, Conn., was selected by the Denver Outlaws in the eighth round two spots after Pfister. A USILA Third Team All-American, he leads the Big Ten and is eighth in the NCAA in goals-against average (8.27), ranking 12th in the nation with a Big Ten-best .544 save percentage. A First Team All-Big Ten selection in 2017 and honorable mention all-conference choice in 2016, Carey has a career ledger of 32-19 as a Buckeye, with an 8.80 goals-against average and .522 save percentage. He has double-digit saves in seven of the last eight games.
Blubaugh, from Galena, Ohio, was also selected by his hometown team, with the Ohio Machine drafting him in the eighth round (No. 71) shortly after Carey was chosen. The Buckeyes’ career leader in games played (68), Blubaugh has a career-best 16 goals this year, adding two assists for 18 points. A team captain as a senior, he has 48 goals and 69 points for the Scarlet and Gray.
The Buckeyes have one game left this season. They face Maryland in the NCAA Championship final at 1 p.m. in Foxborough, Mass., and on ESPN2.