It was a friendly compromise between David Dilts and his friend that would ultimately jumpstart a collegiate lacrosse career at Syracuse University.
"I started playing lacrosse my freshman year at Culver Military Academy (Ind.) after having promised my friend that if he played basketball for me, I would play lacrosse for him," Dilts said. "In fact, after sitting on the JV bench the entirety of freshman year, I planned on running track the following spring instead of playing lacrosse."
It was head coach Jon Posner, though, that noticed Dilts' full potential and his athleticism that he brought to the team.
"He convinced me to continue on with lacrosse," he said. "He placed me on the prep team to develop my game. Practicing against one of the best high school offenses in the nation for two years has formed me into the type of player I am now."
This past year, as Dilts puts it, was his "first season of legitimate playing time." He started on defense in every game and grew as a dominant defender. However, when long-stick midfielder, Matt Neufeldt (Maryland), tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), Dilts was called upon to step up.
"I was used primarily in the LSM position depending on favorable matchups throughout the rest of the season," Dilts said. "Personally, I enjoy playing defense much more simply because I like having a defined matchup and can use [the opponent's] strengths and weaknesses to my advantage, whereas at LSM, it is a little more difficult to figure out a player during the course of a game."
Dilts' play got the attention of several schools and he strongly considered Bucknell, Colgate, Rutgers and Denver before choosing Syracuse.
"It was a huge relief," Dilts said about the recruiting process being over, "I went on 10 other unofficial visits and nothing else really clicked. To finally know where I'm going to school and to have an idea of what my future beyond Culver will be huge. I can now completely focus on my athletics and schoolwork."
Titanium Elite, a lacrosse program based out of Ohio, was instrumental in Dilts' recruitment, specifically Titanium coach Kevin Kelley – a former defensive midfielder on the 2000 Syracuse championship team.
"He was a huge inspiration for me to continue to work hard and achieve my goals," he said.
Dilts played in two individual showcases as well as the National High School Showcase with Culver, further enhancing his visibility as a defender.
"Both the Titanium and True programs helped tremendously in my recruitment and without either of them I would probably not be committed to Syracuse," he said.
One thing is for sure, the Orange will be getting a fundamentally sound and well-rounded player in Dilts.
"I can always promise three things: extremely hard work, complete buy-in, and good off-field decisions," he said. "As I take my game to the next level, I obviously want to continue those three things as the pressures and distractions of college life can sidetrack athletes."
He continued, "As a defender, I am a very fundamental, positioned-oriented player. I'm not a flashy, check-happy player at all. I would much rather play exceptional defense by moving my feet and forcing an offensive error than rely on a trail check because I got out of position or went for a ‘home run' check. I also am a very physical defender due to my football background and love ‘bullying' offensive players until they stop dodging me."
Unlike lacrosse, the Caramel, Ind., native has been playing football since he can remember. It's a big reason, too, that has contributed to his success on the lacrosse field.
"I think football has helped me tremendously coming into lacrosse and not only from a physical standpoint, but from a mental standpoint as well," Dilts said. "Those who have played on Friday nights know exactly what I am talking about and it is that same passion, determination and intensity of football that I try to mirror over to the lacrosse field, be it a practice or game."
As a sophomore, the dual threat linebacker and running back led the team in tackles and was named Defensive Most Valuable Player.
For now, Dilts is goal driven and looking to make an impact at Culver before he heads to Syracuse in two years.
"My short terms goals are to captain the football team to a sectional championship," Dilts said, "win the Miclot Business Plan Competition, to receive a 4.0 GPA and to three-peat as champions of the North American Lacrosse Invitational next spring."
The new kid on the block
Cuse Nation Top Stories
Syracuse Basketball Recruiting Trend MeterCuseNation.com breaks down where Syracuse basketball is trending with their top recruiting targets in the 2017 class.
Cuse NationYesterday at 8:00 PM
Relationships Bring Kingsley to SyracuseDefensive end Jonathan Kingsley discusses his decision to commit to Syracuse, official visit plans and more.
Cuse NationYesterday at 7:30 PM
Zaire Franklin Named ACC LB of the WeekSyracuse has a player named in the ACC player of the week honors for the second consecutive week. Details inside.
Cuse NationYesterday at 10:00 AM
Syracuse at Wake Forest Kickoff Time SetThe ACC has announced the kickoff time for Syracuse at Wake Forest. Details inside.
Cuse NationYesterday at 9:15 AM
CuseCast: Episode 18Breaking down Syracuse's win over UConn, previewing the matchup with Notre Dame, Syracuse basketball and recruiting news, special guests Pete Sampson of IrishIllustrated.com and…
Cuse NationSunday at 7:50 PM