Jerome seniors commit to National Champion Johns Hopkins

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Jerome seniors Tyler Mordecai and Marshall Burkhart

Marshall Burkhart and Tyler Mordecai joined the Dublin scholastic lacrosse program as eighth graders and have since helped the Dublin Jerome High School lacrosse program form one of the top programs in the area and state. Now, both will continue their lacrosse careers at Division I power Johns Hopkins University in the fall of 2008. The official signing period is Nov. 6-9.


Marshall Burkhart and Tyler Mordecai joined the Dublin scholastic lacrosse program as eighth graders.

They have helped the Dublin Jerome High School lacrosse program form one of the top programs in the area and state.

Now, both will continue their lacrosse careers at Division I power Johns Hopkins University in the fall of 2008.

Burkhart, a midfielder, and Mordecai, a defenseman, have each verbally committed to attend Johns Hopkins. The official signing period is Nov. 6-9.

Hopkins claimed its ninth national title, holding off Duke 12-11 in the national title game on May 28 in Baltimore.

Hopkins’ appearance in the NCAA championship game marked the 17th time since the inception of the tournament in 1971 that the Blue Jays have played for the title. The 17 appearances in the title game are the most of any team in the nation.

Burkhart and Mordecai join former Jerome lacrosse teammates Scott Ruhl and Steven Simonetti, who will begin their collegiate careers this fall.

Ruhl will attend Towson University and Simonetti will play lacrosse at the University of Denver.

All four players were members of the school’s first team in 2005.

“When the school opened that would have been the second year I ever played lacrosse, so I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to do that when I went to college,” Mordecai said. “I had friends who played and I really didn’t have a spring sport to do. I did track the year before. It was actually a lot of fun, so I decided to give it a shot and I really enjoyed it.”

With their college future decided, Burkhart and Mordecai can now focus on their senior seasons at Jerome.

“Last year was a rough season because the whole recruiting process was so fast,” Burkhart said. “I spent more time e-mailing coaches and talking with coaches on the phone than I did shooting the lacrosse ball in my backyard. I’ll have a lot more time to just practice and be on my own schedule. It will be less stressful.”

Both are members of the football team, but lacrosse remains their first love. Following football season, both players prepare for the spring lacrosse season during rigorous winter conditioning programs and indoor leagues.

“Marshall and Tyler have been significant contributors since their freshman years,” Jerome coach A.J. Auld said. “Both guys are incredibly athletic and could probably play other college sports at the Division I level if they wanted to. Fortunately for us, lacrosse is their favorite sport.”

Both players earned first-team recognition in the state, region and Ohio Capital Conference this past spring and second-team status in the region in 2006.

“While Marshall and Tyler are gifted with a lot of athletic ability, I have rarely seen players who work harder on their games,” Auld said. “It has been great to see them develop as leaders and I look forward to having them lead us in our 2008 campaign.”

Burkhart enters his final season as the program’s all-time leader in ground balls with 256 (5.12 a game) and face-off percentage (69.42). He has scored 50 goals and collected 20 assists.

He chose Hopkins over Denver, Maryland and Duke. Burkhart is considering a major in pre-med or business.

“Hopkins is the defending national champions, it’s a great academic school and I really got a good feel when I visited the campus,” Burkhart said. “I got a good vibe.”

Mordecai chose the Blue Jays over Dartmouth, Notre Dame, Maryland and Duke. He is considering a major in economics.

“Obviously, those other schools are also really good academically,” Mordecai said. “Hopkins has one of the best reputations in regards to lacrosse. They’ve won nine national championships. When I went out there and visited I got a really good feel for the coaching staff and I really enjoyed the campus. That’s really what put me over the edge.”

Jerome claimed a Division I state title in its first season in 2005, capped by a 14-10 win over Kent Roosevelt in the state championship game.

Jerome reached the state title game in 2006, falling to Upper Arlington 9-6.

The Celtics dropped a 10-8 decision to Worthington Kilbourne in the regional finals this past season.

“This is definitely big for the program,” Auld said of the latest commitments. “It’s big for Dublin lacrosse. It’s just another step, maybe another mini-step for Ohio lacrosse in general. It’s not just us. There are a lot of teams throughout Columbus and throughout the state that are sending guys to play big-time D-I. It just speaks for the level of competition that we have here in the state.”

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