Tom Grimm plays integral role as short-stick defensive midfielder after being recruited as offensive weapon

first_img Published on March 31, 2015 at 11:29 pm Contact Matt: mcschnei@syr.edu | @matt_schneidman Facebook Twitter Google+ Tom Grimm wanted to be next.He grew up idolizing Mike Powell, a fellow product of Carthage (New York) High School and a four-time first-team All-American and NCAA attack of the year at Syracuse.“I think it was every little kid’s dream from Carthage, growing up in that program,” Grimm said. “They want to be the next Mikey Powell.”Grimm was rated the No. 7 attack and No. 15 overall player in the high school Class of 2011 by Inside Lacrosse. He was recruited by SU to be an offensive weapon, but that never materialized since the Orange’s offense was crowded and Grimm just wanted to get on the field.Now, the junior short-stick defensive midfielder has embraced his less glamorous role. Grimm is given more freedom as a defensive midfielder since he comes from a primarily offensive background, and takes significant stock in the piece he fits to the puzzle for No. 2 Syracuse (7-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast).AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“He’s definitely accepted it,” assistant coach Lelan Rogers said. “Once they buy into that role and they understand it, their opportunity to get some goals here and there and just play more comes maybe through the defensive side of the field.”When Grimm first came to Syracuse, he wasn’t physically ready. He arrived weighing only 155 pounds and redshirted his first year.He put on 20 pounds that year, crediting his dining hall meal swipes and open buffet 2–3 times each day to his weight gain. In high school Grimm didn’t lift weights at all, he said, so having a structured program at Syracuse helped as well.But a year passed, the Orange’s midfield and attack were still crowded and Grimm just wanted to step on the field.“So they said my best bet would probably be to switch to defensive middie,” Grimm said.At Carthage, Grimm played some long-pole midfield in addition to attack, Rogers said. That eased the transition to more of a defensive-minded player since he already had some of those philosophies ingrained.Grimm’s older brother, Jamie, played defense and his oldest brother, Rob, was on offense. The youngest of the three said he got the best of both worlds, which basically defines the role he has now.“What everyone wants is a two-way middie,” Rogers said. “And Tom can do both. We could leave him out there offensively if we wanted to.”Rogers added that the secret to finding the best defensive midfielders is finding ones who take it to heart when they get beat one-on-one. From years of being beat in basketball, football and video games by his older brothers, and even seeing video game controllers break in competition, Grimm has molded himself into exactly what Syracuse is looking for at the position. “I’m very competitive; if they beat me, you get upset, you get mad about it,” Grimm said of his brothers. “That’s the same thing with defense, if a guy beats you, you take it personally, it’s a one-on-one battle.”And now that Grimm has embraced the nitty-gritty position he’s found himself at, he’s no longer the offensive machine that had 245 goals and 245 assists in high school. His first goal just came a month ago against Virginia, and that was almost 32 games into his career.“It felt like high school all over again,” Grimm joked.He knows it’s not a position that produces goals and assists. He knows that his job is to sprint the length of the field. And he knows not much about his role is flashy.Grimm even smiled and said he trusts his attacks way more than himself to shoot the ball, so he doesn’t even tend to revert to a part of his game that once defined him.But for him, that’s all right.“If anything, I think he’s embraced the role,” head coach John Desko said. “I just think he’s playing his best lacrosse of his career right now.” Commentslast_img

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