November 14, 2012

Minnesota Signs Earl, Smith, Rookie Gibson

from press release

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The National Lacrosse League's (NLL) Minnesota Swarm today announced that the team has re-signed T David Earl and F Pat Smith, and has agreed to terms with rookie F Matt Gibson (5th round, No. 46 overall). All three signings are one-year deals.

Earl, 25, notched six points (3g, 3a), grabbed 37 loose balls and forced 13 turnovers over 11 games as a rookie in 2012. In his second game with the Swarm, Earl found the back of the net for the first time in his career on a breakaway score during a road contest against division rival Washington (Feb. 24). The 6-foot-1, 180-pound transition player collected five loose balls and forced two turnovers in the Swarm's two postseason contests against Colorado and Edmonton. Minnesota acquired the University of Notre Dame product in the third round (No. 27 overall) of the 2011 NLL Entry Draft.

"David was a guy that continued to get better all year long," Swarm associate general manager and head coach Joe Sullivan said. "He added a dynamic to his game with his ability to score on the breakaway. I see David getting better and better as we go. He's smart and really athletic, so there's tons of upside for him. I look forward to seeing big things from him this year."

Smith, 24, spent most of his rookie season on the Swarm's practice squad in 2012, but made the most of his opportunity on the active roster when called upon. In his only regular season appearance last year, the Robert Morris University graduate scored two goals on as many shots during a road game against the Buffalo Bandits on March 17. The Swarm also acquired Smith in the 2011 NLL Entry Draft, and the Westminster, Md. native was chosen four spots after Earl with the No. 31 overall selection in the fourth round.

"Pat got called up for a game with us in Buffalo last year, got a couple chances, and scored," Sullivan said. "He's got a ton of potential, and he's gotten himself in great shape during the offseason. He put a lot of focus on his own conditioning, and that's going to give him a leg up going into the season. We're thrilled he's willing to put forth the effort to come back, and accept the challenges that we've given him."

Gibson, 22, was a standout lefty forward at Yale University and earned First-Team All-Ivy honors during his senior campaign in 2012 after scoring 61 points (28g, 33a) and collecting 32 ground balls. The Swarm used the No. 46 overall selection in the fifth round of the 2012 NLL Entry Draft to select Gibson, who was named the 2012 MLL Rookie of the Year after totaling 33 points (18g, 15a) with the Long Island Lizards this past summer.

"Matt is another guy that has a ton of potential and it has really shown," Sullivan said. "He brings a lot of different looks, which is really exciting because you need those dynamics to really solidify your team. We're looking for him to do big things, but for all the rookies we bring in, we just want them to find their niche with the team and it all starts with their hard work. Everything I've seen indicates that Matt is willing to do that."

The contracts are currently pending league approval.


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