Hastings' T.J. Pottinger commits to Furman University for DI lacrosse
Hastings' standout athlete T.J. Pottinger announced his commitment to play Division I lacrosse at Furman University at the beginning of August. Pottinger is a three-sport athlete for the Raiders, competing in football, wrestling and lacrosse. He qualified individually for the class AAA state wrestling tournament at 160 pounds this past winter and helped the Raiders' wrestling team take fourth as a team in AAA.
Pottinger said his interest in lacrosse started as a kid when he used to play baseball, but as soon as he got a taste of lacrosse he was hooked.
"A couple kids on my baseball team also played lacrosse, so they played two sports in the summer, and one of the dads wouldn't stop asking my dad for me to play lacrosse with his son," Pottinger said. "He wouldn't stop pestering him so I just showed up, I thought it was going to be a practice but it turned out to be a scrimmage and I loved it, and then I quit baseball and stayed out for lacrosse."
Pottinger played club lacrosse the past five or six years. He played for years with True Minnesota, but this past club season switched to Team Minnesota. He said the major difference between club lacrosse and fall baseball or AAU basketball is that in order to find camps or tournaments, players and teams from Minnesota have to travel out east to be seen by college coaches. Pottinger said playing college lacrosse has been a goal of his since nearly the beginning.
"It's been my goal since I watched my first Division I lacrosse game back in sixth grade and I knew right away that I wanted to play Division I lacrosse without a doubt," he explained.
Pottinger also explained that Minnesota lacrosse players are currently at a disadvantage in terms of being recruited and that joining a club team is important if they want to be seen.
"That (joining a club team) was definitely the most important thing, that's what gets you the exposure," Pottinger said. "If you don't play club you're not going to get recruited at the high school level. You can be good and have stats, but none of the schools will think your stats matter because we're from Minnesota, they won't think anything of it. You have to actually play in front of them out east."
Furman was the first Division I school to offer a scholarship to Pottinger, and after a visit he said he knew that's where he wanted to go.
"It was a pretty small campus and a pretty small school, I liked that atmosphere," Pottinger said. "They have a really good pre-med program and I might go into neuroscience, and they have that. Not many schools have that. The other Division I schools I was talking to weren't known for having pre-med, they were more business or technology schools. It was more the academics that drew me there."
Pottinger has been the Raiders' face-off specialist, something he enjoys and he said he hopes to continue that at Furman.
"I would like to contend for a starting spot right away as a freshman, they are struggling at the face-off position right now, and they are bringing in two face-off guys in my class so hopefully I can battle them and get the starting spot," he said.
But before he gets to Furman, Pottinger has three more sports seasons left in his prep career.
"The football team has a whole bunch of question marks but I'm excited, I think it's going to be a fun year," Pottinger. said. "Wrestling, we're going to be super good, making the state finals would be awesome. And in lacrosse, this will probably be our best year ever. We're going to have something like 17 seniors and we're going to be pretty good."