After being asked when he first started playing lacrosse, Mac O’Keefe didn’t respond with a grade in a school.
Nope. It goes back further than that.
“I was introduced to lacrosse probably when I learned to walk,” said the rising sophomore at Syosset High School (N.Y.).
So it should come as no surprise that O’Keefe’s skills have progressed to the point that he will be playing at the highest level of Division I.
The skilled and offensive-minded attackman verballed on July 30 to Penn State, a major commitment that was first reported when it was made by Joe Lombardi on LaxLessons.com’s “Lacrosse Insider” section.
O’Keefe’s commitment is the latest big splash into the Class of 2016 that started last week, when Joe broke the news that Penn State had picked up its first 2016 commit – faceoff specialist Gerard Arceri of Smithtown East High School (N.Y.).
O’Keefe is the Braves’ second 2016 commit, joining defender EJ Aronson (Army).
The 5-foot-9, 140-pound O’Keefe is a small, but quick and elusive offensive dynamo who performed well this summer, including at the Maverik Showtime National Recruiting Spotlight.
What were the main factors in your decision?
I was interested in attending a big school atmosphere, with an excellent academic reputation. I feel Penn State has that, and the coaching staff was excellent explaining all the opportunities for a student.
I felt very comfortable with their commitment to the student-athlete, and what they expect from me. They are building something special, and I want to be a part of it.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
I feel my strengths are my stick handling, scoring and ability to find soft spots in a defense to get off shots.
What areas of your game do you need to work on?
I know that I have to work very hard at Syosset the next few years on my dodging ability, and creating my own shot.
How did you get introduced to lacrosse and what other sports have you played?
I was introduced to lacrosse probably when I learned to walk. My father is a former player and my club coach, and he had a stick in my hand very early.
What travel team do you play on what showcase events did you participate in?
I play for Team 91 2016 in the summer, as well as Syosset High School. I participated in the Long Island Rising Sophomore Showcase, Crabfeast, NSCLA National Championship, was a LI Laxfest all-star, Maverik Showtime, NXT Summer Showcase, and the Hofstra Blue and Gold Classic.
My dad, being a former box player, felt that game was important for my development. I currently play with the USIL Junior box lacrosse team.
Any final thoughts?
I would like to thank my high school coach John Calabria for showing faith in me as a 9th grader on varsity and helping me through this process. I’d also like to thank everyone at Team 91 Lacrosse, including Brad Weinman, Tom Martello, Brian Spallina and Seth Tierney.
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