This spring, Navy quarterback Xavier Arline has decided to pick the lacrosse stick back up as an attackman for the Midshipmen. After opting to only play football during his freshman year, Arline is playing both sports as a sophomore.
The 5-foot-9, 176-pound Arline was a talented high school athlete, as he competed in three sports back home in New York — football, basketball and lacrosse. In fact, Arline had committed to North Carolina in 2016 to play lacrosse before decommitting and deciding to play football at the Naval Academy.
However, his love for the game of lacrosse has pushed him to play it again.
“On the field, he comes with such a natural ability,” Navy lacrosse head coach Joe Amplo said on Glenn Clark Radio Feb. 1. “He’s quick as can be. He’s certainly gotten stronger, obviously, working with football.”
During his time at the Academy, Arline has played quarterback in 12 games and started five. In those games, he’s had 126 rushing attempts for 386 yards and two touchdowns. He is also 11-for-30 for 169 yards and one touchdown through the air.
In high school, Arline was one of the top lacrosse recruits in the nation. He had scholarship offers to play football and/or lacrosse from various schools, including Air Force, Army, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Navy and Maryland.
Arline attended Shoreham-Wading River High School in New York, where he earned plenty of accolades throughout his career for football and lacrosse. Arline led his lacrosse team to an 18-3 record and a New York state championship in 2019.
In addition to his ability on the field, Arline’s leadership traits will also be important to the Navy lacrosse team, according to Amplo.
“I think it’s that confidence level that he potentially brings that can help shift the mindset of this program,” Amplo said. “That, to me, is the biggest asset.”
Amplo was brought in to be the Navy head coach in June 2019, but the Mids still haven’t played a full season because of COVID-19. In 2020, the team finished 3-2 and 1-1 in Patriot League play before the remainder of the season was canceled. In 2021, the Midshipmen went 6-3 overall and 4-2 in conference play before losing to Loyola in the Patriot League tournament quarterfinals.
While Navy had a very solid season last year, Amplo still believes that there is still a ton of room to grow. Amplo wants his team to understand that there are things that need to be improved upon, and he wants his team to prove itself in 2022.
Navy fell to Mount St. Mary’s, 11-9, in the season opener Feb. 5.
“I think we asserted ourselves, in terms of an identity last year, what Navy lacrosse is going to look and feel like moving forward,” Amplo said. “But now it’s about performance. It’s about performance in those big moments against really good teams and the ability to win when the lights go on.”
Navy has most of its key contributors back this season with the exception of last year’s leading scorer Christian Daniel, who graduated. However, the Mids do have four of their top five point scorers returning from last year, including midfielders Patrick Skalniak, Nick Cole and Jon Jarosz and attackman James Flannery.
Now, Navy will have an opportunity to improve and add a very talented piece in Arline. Amplo knows Arline may need some time to adapt to lacrosse at the college level. But if there’s anyone who can adapt quickly, Arline is surely at the top of the list.
“He’s an unbelievable human being,” Amplo said. “He’s confident, but he’s also humble enough to know what he doesn’t know. He’s been like a sponge the past couple of weeks with trying to learn.”
Arline is currently recovering from an injury that he suffered during the last game of the football season against Army. He missed the opener against Mount St. Mary’s and is considered day-to-day.
“We’re trying to be really cautious, truthfully,” Amplo said. “I understand the responsibility that we have with his role here at the Academy. [We’re] making sure that we don’t do anything that jeopardizes his ability to play both sports at the highest level.”
Arline’s next opportunity to make his collegiate debut will be on Saturday, Feb. 12 against Mercer. When he does make his debut, Amplo, the team and the fans will be very excited to see what Arline can bring to the team.
Amplo explained that oftentimes in high school, the game plan would be give the ball to Arline, usually the most athletic and talented player on the field, and just let him run. But in college, it will most likely be different.
“He still has everything he had in high school and more, there’s no question about it,” Amplo said. “But how does he handle a three-goal run or slowing the ball down after we’ve just given up two goals, so things like that. His ability to manage the game, and be the quarterback potentially, is what I’m most curious about.”
For more from Amplo, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Navy Athletics