DULUTH, Ga. (September 18, 2023) – The Georgia Swarm called out eight names Saturday night at the 2023 NLL Entry Draft. Georgia entered the night with eight picks, including three in the first round, the most of any team.
The night started off with Albany, Las Vegas, New York, Vancouver, and Panther City all getting their picks in before Georgia was on the clock. With the sixth overall pick in the draft the Swarm selected Toron Eccleston from Lenoir-Rhyne University and Burnaby Lakers.
Eccleston had a decorated career as a Lenoir-Rhyne Bear, most recently helping his program win its first-ever National Championship (2023). Eccleston is a two-time Second Team All-American (2022, 2023), First Team All-Region Selection (2022, 2023), and First Team All-Conference (2022, 2023) honoree. Throughout his four years as an attackman, he notched 214 points, 164 goals, and 50 assists while also contributing 79 ground balls and 29 caused turnovers.
Not long after Eccleston’s name was called the Swarm selected Jacob Hickey from the Toronto Beaches with the eighth overall pick. In 2019 with the Beaches, Hickey dished out 12 assists in only seven games played while landing one shot between the pipes.
The Swarm closed out the first round picking Kaleb Benedict with the 19th overall selection. Benedict played for the Orangeville Northmen this season helping his team advance to the OJLL Finals, where they fell short to raising the Minto Cup. Benedict finished fifth on the team in scoring, totaling 95 points across 26 games.
Following the first round, Georgia had two more selections in the second, picking up Liam McGrath (26th overall) and Jake Taylor (31st overall). McGrath was the second Lenoir-Rhyne Bear the Swarm called out that night. McGrath, a National Champion midfielder, totaled 25 points (18G, 7A), 18 ground balls, and five caused turnovers with the Bears. Taylor is also coming off a National Championship run after the attackman helped Notre Dame secure its first in program history. Taylor totaled 63 points throughout his four years with the Fighting Irish, notching 33 this past season. In his first career start he broke the Notre Dame single-game scoring record for goals with eight against Syracuse (4/2/22).
In the third round, the Swarm selected a faceoff specialist from Michigan University who also has professional experience playing in the Premier Lacrosse League, Nicholas Rowlett. Following Rowlett, Georgia selected Richie Connell from the University of Denver at 66th overall. Connell suited up two seasons with the Pioneers, recording 52 points (30G, 22A), and 17 ground balls.
Georgia made the sixth trade of the night, late in the fifth round, giving the 73rd overall pick to New York in exchange for a fifth-round selection in the 2025 NLL Draft.
With their final pick and 88th overall in the 2023 NLL Draft, the Swarm chose Piper Bond from the University of Pennsylvania. Bond earned 12 honors in the last two seasons ranging from USILA All-America honorable mention (2023), Inside Lacrosse All-America Third Team (2023), First Team All-Ivy (2022, 23), and more. The defensive midfielder totaled 85 ground balls, 23 caused turnovers, and five points (3G, 2A) throughout his career at UPenn.
Some of the players the Swarm drafted tonight still have NCAA eligibility due to COVID shortened seasons. However, this will be the final entry draft where this will be the case.
Get your season tickets to watch the new draftees and the rest of the team in action this December for as low as $77.70.
Round 1, Pick 6: Toron Eccleston – Lenoir-Rhyne- Burnaby Lakers
Round 1, Pick 8: Jacob Hickey – Toronto Beaches
Round 1, Pick 19: Kaleb Benedict – Orangeville Northmen
Round 2, Pick 26: Liam McGrath – Lenoir-Rhyne – Coquitlam
Round 2, Pick 31: Jake Taylor- Notre Dame
Round 3, Pick 41: Nicholas Rowlett- Michigan
Round 4, Pick 66: Richie Connell- University of Denver
Round 6, Pick 88: Piper Bond- UPenn