Growing up on the Six Nations reservation in Ontario, the sport of lacrosse was introduced to Randy Staats at birth. A small wooden stick was placed in his crib and has stayed with him ever since.
"I still have it," he said smiling.
Over the years, Onondaga head coach Chuck Wilbur has established a recruiting pipeline up through Canada and has brought in some pure lacrosse talent including the likes of Sid Smith and Cody Jamieson, both Syracuse University standouts, a few short years ago. Randy Staats is the latest lacrosse success story.
When asked about how he found out about Onondaga, Staats brought up those two, stating that "We all just followed in their footsteps." Currently, on the Onondaga roster, there are 10 Six Nations players.
Those shiny objects, aka National Championship rings, are, of course, a factor when making a decision to come to Onondaga, however, Staats quickly points out that it's not all about that.
"You have to work hard for it," he said. "You have to put in hours and time with your teammates. You have to do all the little things to make that big outcome."
The hard work and dedication to improving his craft has paid off. Staats will join an incoming class that is one of the best in the country this fall.
The junior college transfer turned down offers from Maryland, Hostra and Long Island University to stay in Syracuse and play for the Orange.
"It was a really long, three-week process," Staats said. "It was kind of the biggest decision of my entire life. It's where I will ultimately spend the next two years of my life. I felt more comfortable and welcomed here in Syracuse. Another factor was my family -- they live only four hours from here. They can come to every game now. I have friends here, too. I just didn't really want to start from scratch, either, which was another big factor."
While visiting, Staats got to meet head coach John Desko:
"They really welcomed me with open arms. I had the opportunity to sit down with him for a couple hours, one-on-one, and talk about everything. It was pretty intimidating, but it was pretty awesome. He is a very intelligent man; he knows what's going on."
The sophomore attack knows he has a lot of work ahead of him when he steps foot on the field for the Orange. He isn't taking anything for granted.
"My biggest goal there is to help out. You really can't really go into an environment like that thinking you're going to take over someone's spot. You have to work your way up the ladder. I'm just going to try and bring my game to the table, see where they can put me, and listen as much as possible. I'm a sponge, I want to absorb the environment and opportunity that I have there."
Staats hopes to make an impact with 'Cuse
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