Project Midwest Fall Showcase Standouts

Project Midwest Fall Showcase Standouts

Project Midwest held their Fall Showcase yesterday at Olentangy High School north of Columbus, Ohio.

In our preview post, we mentioned athletes from the 2024-2026 classes where on hand to compete. The majority were from Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Canada. Athletes competed on one of four graduation year based teams.

The weather was quite wet and blustery compared to our previous event in Illinois.

Perhaps, we jinxed it by asking a coach on Friday if he paid closer attention to athletes who were still competing in the cold weather. With the "spring" season beginning in February, we wondered if college coaches were placing a greater emphasis on being able to contribute in the cold during November events.

Paraphrasing here, the coach said it is no different than still having a motor during the last game of the weekend in July.

You either have it or you don't. No matter the weather. And, it was bitterly cold and wet yesterday. The fields held up nicely but they were certainly slower than turf.

These athletes produced regardless of weather.

2024 Ethan Conto - Midfield - Muskego - Alpha

This is the second time seeing Conto in person in three weeks. He was undercover so to speak because he was wearing a different helmet and jersey this go round but we immediately recognized him after watching a middie violently shake and go to the middle of the field and score on a deep lefty shot. Conto, like a few other players we will mention, was not hindered by the wet grass field.

2024 Ty Hampton - Attack - St. Francis DeSales - True

The compact righty appeared to be shot out of a cannon from the start of the first game. He was quick and explosive dodging from X, completely fearless of the field conditions or on ball defender, and effortlessly set up cutters all day.

2024 Devin Mueller - Attack - White Bear Lake - Minnesota Loons

The 6'3" lefty has a great frame and appeared to be larger than the poles covering him. He was more than willing to fight for top side to improve his angle rather than settling for outside shots.

2024 Luca Minniti - Midfield - Olentangy Liberty - Resolute

We described Minniti as an Energizer Bunny who does that dirty work non stop. The Ohio middie often took it upon himself to punt return clear to avoid turnovers from long passes. He can really scoot and was a handful for short sticks on either side of the ball.

2024 Nate Samson - Defense - Waunakee - Alpha

The Wisconsin pole checks in at 6'3" 210lbs. Samson is two sport athlete blends football physicality with technical prowess. He can capitalize when he has an athletic or strength advantage but is also patient enough to earn those moments.

Additional 2024 athletes of note:

Sean Ryan - Attack/Midfield - Lakes (Illinois)

Carter Blackburn - Attack - Waunakee - Alpha - Loyola

Nolan Barker - Attack - London - Toronto Rock Stars

Charlie Perri - Midfield - Arrowhead - Alpha

Ryder Lewis - Midfield - Dublin Coffman - Resolute

Alec Neuharth - Defense - Arrowhead - Alpha

Sean Arundel - Defense - Lemont - East Ave

Ryan Miller - Goalie - Archbishop Moeller - Resolute

Parker Knapp - Goalie - Columbus Academy - Haymakers

All three classes were playing at the same time so we only watched about 75% of one 2025 game but Griffin Lewis, Nathan Smith, and Brody Nyitrai had noteworthy performances during that evaluation.

2025 Griffin Lewis - Midfield - Dublin Coffman - Resolute

Lewis is a very much the younger brother version of 6'2" 200lb Ryder. Like his brother, Griffin also plays football and plays the midfield with the same level of athleticism and physicality. Lewis scored on a wing low to low shot that overpowered the goalie.

2025 Nathan Smith - Defense - St. Ignatius - Resolute

By the largest player on the field, Smith moved very well in two phases of the game. He played close defense for the first half of the game, sitting down in his chair to blanket ball carriers and vocally running the defense when he was off ball. His goalie only had to worry about stopping the ball. Smith handled every communication.

Then, in the second half of the game he played short stick defensive middie. He was more than capable of handling the ball with either pole or short. Haven't seen many athletes willingly sign up for extra shifts in the midfield.

2025 Brody Nyitrai - Attack - Christ the King Catholic - Toronto Rock Stars

The little lefty was on fire in the early portion of the game scoring a goal and adding an assist, both in transition opportunities. While attempting to tweet that out, he scored again in transition. The sophomore has some growing to do but right now is absolutely lethal against defenders his own age and he smartly doesn't seem to interested in proving himself as a deep threat shooter.

Nyitrai was a non stop chatter box during offensive possessions and he even set up a dummy clear in which he would convince a middie to come over the midfield before telling the other attackman to go in his place. Clever gamesmanship for a sophomore. Ruthless in a showcase setting.

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