Luke Beam wasn't officially the York Suburban boys' lacrosse coach for more than a week when he spotted someone at York College decked in orange Trojans gear firing practice shots.
Beam knew little about the team he inherited, except a few high school and college coaches told him Collin Mailman would be his top player. Maybe this teen practicing his craft on a freezing winter day could provide insight, Beam thought.
When he approached, the teen introduced himself as Mailman.
The coach quickly learned of his leading player's work ethic, which made little surprise Tuesday when he learned of Mailman's verbal commitment to Drexel University for lacrosse.
"They're getting a great athlete, lacrosse athlete and even better kid," Beam said. "He's definitely a talented player, but just his energy is contagious to the whole team."
Mailman, a 6-foot senior and multi-sport athlete at Suburban, received seven Division I college offers. He visited Army and Navy. A handful of smaller schools, including York College also were interested, but Drexel offered the most in terms of a scholarship.
"I really like the city atmosphere," he said of the Philadelphia school. "I got to spend time with the team. It was like a family, and I really like that."
Mailman first received interest last year after a successful summer showcase with his club team, Rock Lacrosse in Baltimore. His other Division I suitors included Richmond, Towson, Lehigh, Georgetown, Mount St. Mary's and Robert Morris.
On Monday, during YAIAA football media day, Mailman said he hoped to make a decision in the next week. Drexel gave him a quicker deadline that pushed that decision, but Mailman said Tuesday he didn't feel rushed. He was leaning toward the Dragons.
The school offers a chance to major in business, which Mailman said is inspired by his family's ownership of the former Mailman's Department Stores. On the field, he might get a chance to play soon.
The Dragons finished 7-8 in the spring with a loss to Towson in the Colonial Athletic Association semifinals. They won the CAA and reached the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals in 2014.
"I definitely think they're on an upward trend from where they started two years ago," Mailman said. "That definitely sparked a lot of interest for me. From watching them play in person, they lost a lot of seniors."
Mailman said Drexel likes him as a midfielder. In that role for the Trojans last spring, Mailman produced 35 goals and 14 assists while helping them to a second straight winning season in the program's short history. He received All-YAIAA honors and did so while facing steady double- and triple-team efforts from opposing defenses.
"It forced him to look at the game differently," Beam said. "As a coach, we could have schemed things differently, but because he had to fight through those things, I think he got a chance to appreciate it as an off-ball guy."
Looking back on last season with Suburban, Mailman admitted it frustrated him but added it helped him this summer. Just a week ago, he helped York County secure gold in State College during the Keystone State Games.
He balanced lacrosse with football — and thanked a number of coaches in both sports for excusing him to fill commitments with the other. Mailman can now take a quick break. Football practice is less than two weeks away, but his college decision is figured out.
"I wasn't really stressing too much to begin with," he said, "but I wanted to get it out of the way."
Mailman caught 43 passes for 1,007 yards last fall for the Trojans football team. Those numbers are the most for any returning player this fall to the YAIAA.
He plans to return to the basketball court in the winter, too. Mailman stopped last season to concentrate on lacrosse.
And take shots on cold days at York College.
Contact Matt Goul at 771-2045.