Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/23/16
From Press Release
Liam Byrnes, Jacob Richard (Henderson) and B.J. Grill became the first Major League Lacrosse draft picks in Marquette University history when they were selected Friday afternoon in the 2016 MLL Collegiate Draft in Baltimore. All three players are team co-captains and have competed in every game Marquette has ever played.
Graduate student Liam Byrnes, a long-stick midfielder, became the first MU student-athlete picked when the Florida Launch selected him in the third round with the 21st overall choice. Richard and Grill were chosen in the third and fourth rounds, respectively.
“All three of those guys are so excited,” said Marquette head coach Joe Amplo, who announced that Byrnes had been selected to the team during Friday’s practice. “I spoke to all of them individually and they were all so appreciative of what Marquette has done for them. Each one of them said that they couldn’t have done this without Marquette giving them a chance.
“It is a testament to the guys who came before them and those three themselves that they understood what hard work was and did everything right to this point. They did everything that they were asked and that’s what we tell our team all the time. If you do the right thing, good things will come.”
Richard was selected with the last pick in the fourth round when the New York Lizards selected the short-stick defensive midfielder 40th overall.
Richard has played in all 45 games in MU program history and sits second all-time to Byrnes with 130 ground balls. The native of West Chester, Pennsylvania tied for the team lead last season with 52 ground balls and in his career is third in caused turnovers with 27.
Grill was chosen 40th overall by Denver Outlaws in the fifth round as MU’s third and final draftee of the day.
Byrnes, an Inside Lacrosse Faceoff Yearbook Preseason Third Team All-American, was the BIG EAST’s unanimous choice at long stick midfielder in 2015. The West Islip, New York, native is Marquette’s all-time leader in ground balls and recorded 52 in 2015 along with a team-best 26 caused turnovers. He has also notched four goals and a pair of assists and ranks among the NCAA’s active leaders in career points from a long pole player.
The 5-foot-5 defender is a two-time All-BIG EAST First Team selection and a unanimous all-league choice by the conference’s coaches in 2015. Grill has proven to be Marquette’s primary shutdown option on defense, and is mostly tasked with the other team’s top dodger on attack. The Bridgewater, New Jersey native has shut down some of the NCAA’s top attackers over his career, including Notre Dame’s Matt Kavanagh, this year’s fifth-overall pick.
Grill is also an Inside Lacrosse Faceoff Yearbook Third Team All-American, along with Byrnes, and was on campus with him for the 2011-12 school year during which MU practiced but did not play any games.
The trio joins Tyler Melnyk and Andrew Smistad, both of whom were taken in the 2014 NLL Draft, as MU players drafted into the professional ranks
The Golden Eagles begin the 2016 campaign on Saturday, Jan. 30 at Michigan, with regular season competition beginning on Feb. 20 against Bellarmine at Valley Fields.