Outlaws top draft pick ready to contribute immediately, raise the bar for Denver

The Denver Outlaws will have new faces as they take the field Saturday against the Charlotte Hounds, headlined by 2018 first-round draft pick Connor Keating.

For Keating — the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 MLL collegiate draft — it’s a quick transition from draft preparation and celebration — to hitting the field for the Outlaws, who was activated by Denver Wednesday and will play Saturday in his first career MLL game.

At the collegiate level, Keating earned third-team All-America and first-team All-Ivy League accolades during his junior season at the University of Pennsylvania. Keating recorded 12 points (10 goals, 2 assists) and nabbed 61 ground balls in his junior year. Keating in his senior year played 15 games, starting 11 — while recording three goals, four assists, seven points on 20 shots with 58 ground balls. He also was named 2018 First-team All-Ivy (unanimous) and a senior CLASS award finalist.

The Outlaws (1-4) will hope Keating brings an immediate spark as the MLL’s top team and last undefeated team comes to Denver. Keating spoke with Ronnie Kohrt of Mile High Sports about his style and what he hopes to bring to the field in his debut Saturday.

“I like to make big plays,” Keating said. “I love to shoot, score. Get out there and play with some style.”

“I think that I’ve always been a very competitive person…I’d like to really contribute and bring that sense of competition to the team. Hopefully bring some energy, I think that’s where I fit in well,” Keating said.

“I’m excited to hopefully bring some energy, competitiveness to the organization and get some wins.”

Keating was a force at the collegiate level and because of his skill at his position, general manager Tony Seaman says Keating can immediately contribute and is pleased with the selection.

“We feel that we have an extremely talented player who can immediately contribute to our team,” Seaman said. “Long-stick midfield is a crucial position in this league. We’re confident that Connor can play that role for us at an elite level for years to come.”

“We’re very excited that he’s a Denver Outlaw.”

You could say the calvary is arriving for Denver. The Outlaws will also see the return of one of their better scorers on the team, Wes Berg, who spent the first couple games on the inactive list while playing for the Calgary Roughnecks, who were recently eliminated from the NLL playoffs (indoor lacrosse.)

Berg — a former DU Pioneer — recorded the second most Division I tournament goals in a career (39) and recorded 25 points for the Outlaws in the summer of 2017.

Keating will be joined by attackman Chris Cloutier out of the University of North Carolina — who was taken in the fourth round, No. 29 overall and midfielder Chase Young (4th round, No. 35 overall — both activated for Saturday’s game as they take the field at Mile High Stadium Saturday night on Military Appreciation night.

The game is scheduled to start at 7pm MST. Photo credit to Denver Outlaws Twitter account and photographer Ron Chenoy.