Matt Triplet and Jack DeSantis had what in other sports could be considered a curious exchange the first time they met.

Matt Triplet and Jack DeSantis had what in other sports could be considered a curious exchange the first time they met.

"One of the first things I said to Jack was to congratulate him on committing to (the University of) Maryland," said Triplet, the boys lacrosse coach at DeSales High School. "Then it was, 'now let me be your high-school coach.' "

DeSantis, a sophomore for the Stallions, committed to the Terrapins three months before he ever played a high-school game. A midfielder by trade, he played long-stick midfielder on the final day of a high-level camp leading into his freshman year and Maryland took interest -- as did North Carolina and Notre Dame.

After another camp, DeSantis and his father were called into a Maryland coach's office, and DeSantis got his scholarship offer.

"I was very surprised. I didn't expect that kind of interest, and I was very grateful," he said. "That's been my dream as long as I can remember, to play Division I college lacrosse. But it was surreal that (an offer) actually happened. It's humbling."

DeSantis hardly was the first underclassman to make his college choice before playing a high-school game, a trend area coaches and players have seen pick up steam the past several years.

The practice is to the point where college coaches recently presented proposals to the NCAA in an attempt to halt early recruiting and allow student-athletes to further mature before making such an important life decision.

"You're asking a kid who probably doesn't even know what kind of car he likes to make a major life decision," said Triplet, who is in his 12th season at DeSales. "It's a crazy thing."

'Nobody is willing to stop it'

Sue Stimmel is less than six years removed from a 15-season stint as Ohio State women's lacrosse coach, and she had to chuckle at one observation as she recently discussed the tide of underclassman commitments.

"We were offering juniors then, and that was a little bit crazy," said Stimmel, who was 198-130 between stops at Ohio State and Denison and has been Upper Arlington's associate head coach since 2012. "This now, that is crazy, yet nobody is willing to stop it. When kids are offered, they feel like they have to take it. Coaches don't back off. They all want to get the top kids."

Recruiting rules have not changed. College coaches cannot initiate contact with prospective recruits until July 1 after their junior year, so club or high-school coaches often are used as a go-between to initiate relationships. Athletes also are allowed to contact coaches.

Still, that has not stopped players from deciding early.

Among others, freshman Carter Hilleary of DeSales' boys team committed to Air Force in February. Current Stallions senior Nick Musci and 2013 graduate J.T. Blubaugh committed to Ohio State as sophomores, as did Dublin Jerome junior Hunter Barco last year.

New Albany senior Liza Hernandez committed to OSU during the fall of her sophomore year.

Caitlyn Wurzburger, an eighth-grader at American Heritage School in Delray Beach, Fla., verbally committed to Syracuse in January.

"I've noticed (early recruiting) a lot the past three or four years, and it's at a crescendo right now," sixth-year New Albany girls coach Dave Ferguson said. "Lacrosse has grown and there's so much competition for these kids' talents and trying to lock them in early. There's so much visibility in club for these kids, and if one coach gets a player early, then all of a sudden everyone else has to get in on (early recruiting) or they risk losing out. ...

"I think you have to allow kids to be student-athletes and enjoy being teenagers. It's too bad. But something you have to remember is these schools aren't doing anything wrong."

Hernandez was not even the first girl on her club team, the Midwestern Force, to make her college choice. Riley Harrison, a senior at Charlotte (N.C.) Country Day, committed to North Carolina as a freshman.

"I think coaches feel pressure to recruit early. If someone else is doing that, they have to or there's the possibility they're going to lose out on somebody they want," Hernandez said. "Honestly, I think it's crazy for a freshman in high school to make such a huge life decision at that point. I'm a totally different person than I was three years ago. I like different things. But it's nice to have that decision behind me, and I feel like it's motivated me."

Hernandez long had wanted to be a Buckeye, and she was shocked when an OSU coach offered her a scholarship during an official visit. Cincinnati, Colorado, Navy, North Carolina, Virginia and Winthrop also were interested, and Hernandez's club coach had advised her to hold off if OSU made an offer.

"My club coach told me I needed to wait a week because (Cincinnati) was planning to offer me," Hernandez said. "I honestly wanted to tell OSU yes right there on the spot. They'd always been the leader. I wanted to go there since I was little. I wanted to at least weigh the options, but I knew I was going to go to OSU."

DeSales junior attacker Jennie Finotti committed to Cincinnati in January 2015, before her sophomore season. Her father, fifth-year Stallions girls coach Joe Finotti, trusted her to make the call but only after several visits and hours of thought.

"We felt like if she felt good about it, we were good with her making a decision," coach Finotti said.

Change could be on horizon

Rules changes could happen, and many coaches have been working for months to make that so.

Several proposals have been submitted to the NCAA, including one by the Interscholastic Women's Lacrosse College Association that would ban any contact with high-school athletes and their families before Sept. 1 of their junior year. A similar measure was pushed by Virginia men's coach Dom Starsia during the Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association's annual convention in December.

The NCAA Division I council discussed the measures at a meeting in April.

Another proposal would revise the recruiting calendar to distinguish between a recruiting period when coaches are permitted to attend high-school events and what is known as an "evaluation period" when coaches can recruit at any event, including club activities.

Any new legislation would be finalized at a June meeting and would be effective Aug. 1.

"I have no idea (what will happen)," Stimmel said. "You never know how it will go. Football and basketball, those commitments change several times before a player actually signs. Lacrosse, the challenge is it's a real small world and coaches feel that a player's word is a guarantee, and vice versa. Figuring out what to do, if anything, is going to be interesting."