D-I Men’s 2022 Awards Shortlists

Pittsburgh's Henry Ing is marked by North Carolina's Liam Searles-Bohs at Smoky Mountain Invite 2022.
Pittsburgh’s Henry Ing is marked by North Carolina’s Liam Searles-Bohs at Smoky Mountain Invite 2022. Photo: William ‘Brody’ Brotman — UltiPhotos.com

Ultiworld’s 2022 College Awards are presented by the National Ultimate Training Camp; all opinions are those of the author(s). NUTC helps young players become better athletes and community members.

Ultiworld’s annual college awards recognize the game’s most talented and exciting players, the ones who helped define the awesome college season that was. As we blast forward towards the College Championships in late May, our staff has already been collecting our thoughts on who is in the best position going into Nationals to claim some of the coveted prizes. While the performance of players at Nationals is a large part of our consideration, what happens prior to that event does matter.

We’ve highlighted some of the top candidates for each award — excluding Coach of the Year, which is very much defined by Nationals performance — as well as others in consideration, in non-exhaustive lists. Players may move around, drop off, or enter the fray between now and when the final staff votes are tallied, but here’s where we sit less than a month away from Nationals.

Player of the Year

Jacques Nissen (Brown)

If #1 ranked Brown go wire to wire and win the title after their three regular season tournament wins, it will be hard to deny Nissen this award. He’s been the most consistent offensive player in the country this year, and been the centerpiece for Brown’s handler dominator. With John Randolph limited in the first half of the season, Nissen has stepped up and assumed the mantle for the regular season’s best team. We’ll see how he tolerates that load in the Series.

Alex Atkins (Colorado)

Who has two All-American team appearances and spikes like he’s possessed? This guy. Atkins can (and frequently does) do it all for a Mamabird side that have only two losses on the season. He plays great defense, throws great hucks, and, when he deigns to venture downfield, is one of the best deep receivers in the country. Nobody has a shoe on the podium before Nationals, but Atkins is as close as it gets.

Henry Ing (Pittsburgh)

We all knew Henry Ing was going to be good when he first popped up at Pitt, but his level of play this season exceeds the hype. Pittsburgh’s first, second, and third offensive option, Ing can plausibly be considered the best cutter, hucker, and person defender on his team. With injuries and Covid-year weirdness, we’ve never seen Ing on centerstage at a traditional Nationals. If he gets his chance this year, he could make a claim that is hard for awards voters to ignore.

Also in consideration:

  • KJ Koo (Cal Poly SLO)
  • John Randolph (Brown)
  • Joe Merrill (BYU)
  • Cole Jurek (Minnesota)

Offensive Player of the Year

Andrew Roy (California)

Playing on his third college team1 A-Roy was the missing centerpiece that Cal’s offense desperately needed, and has elevated Ursa to a new level. Equally comfortable grinding for resets and breaking defenses open with his throws, Roy has put his experience as a top club handler with Sub Zero to use. With two bids in the Southwest, there’s a good chance we’ll get to see Roy’s offensive mastery continue at Nationals.

Cole Jurek (Minnesota)

Perhaps the most technically proficient cutter in the country, Jurek is a nightmare when isolated in the lane. No team relies more on their O-line than Minnesota, and Jurek is the clear focal point of that well drilled offensive unit. His on-disc skills are only growing, and has added a back shoulder fade huck to his game that makes him even more of a menace.

John McDonnell (North Carolina)

“John McDonnell is a wizard,” is an actual quote overheard on the sidelines of a UNC game this spring. It’s hard to disagree. The handler has taken the classic Darkside dink-and-dunk and added his curious mix of release points and angles to make the role truly his own. When he’s cooking, it looks like magic. Having spent years of his college career in the shadow of other greats on the team, 2022 is the season McDonnell has found himself in the spotlight.

Also in consideration:

  • Manny Eckert (Washington)
  • Gus Norrbom (Northeastern)
  • Orion Cable (Massachusetts)
  • Trevor Lynch (NC State)
  • Joe Merrill (BYU)

Defensive Player of the Year

Jeremy Hess (Maryland)

Hess has been bodying some of the best players in the club division for a couple years now, and it seems almost unfair that college players have to deal with him. He can guard every position across the field, and particularly thrives in snatching blocks on opposition deep shots. If Maryland make Nationals out of the AC, it will likely be on the back of the D-line lead by Hess.

Myles Cooper (Pittsburgh)

With Alex Davis now graduated, there’s a new fastest man in college ultimate. Cooper has been using his speed to generate blocks and deter deep looks for years. In his final college season, Cooper’s looked as good as ever and has helped propel Pitt out of the doldrums of their 2021 season into semis contention in 2022. While Henry Ing has (deservedly) gotten much of the press and attention, En Sabah Nur is more than a one person show.

Drew Di Francesco (Georgia)

While Adam Miller stands out as Georgia’s D-line quarterback (and for his aggressive use of timeouts), it’s actually Di Francesco who shines on the field earning the disc for the Jojah. Equally adept making stops in the backfield and against dominant cutters, Di Francesco is the matchup opposing offenses scheme to avoid. With another deep bracket run front of mind for Georgia, expect di Francesco to come up with key blocks in important games like he’s done time and time again this season.

Also in consideration:

  • Sean Wiles (NC State)
  • Evan Magsig (California)
  • Dylan Villeneuve (Brown)
  • Noah Hanson (Carleton)
  • James Hill (Michigan)
  • Tony Venneri (Washington)

Rookie of the Year

After expanding our definition of Rookie beyond just the class of 2025 for the fall of 2021 to include all players competing in their first college series, we are again restricting this award to players who are either first-year college students or are competing in their first-ever college series this spring.

Orion Cable (Massachusetts)

Cable may be the best freshman the men’s division has seen in a generation. His poise, size, athletic ability, and polish have already landed him in the top 10 of all players in the division on our recent Top 25 list. If things break the wrong way for Zoodisc at Regionals – damn you, two-bid New England – it’s possible that he could win this award without even competing at Nationals.

Porter Oyler (BYU)

While not exactly the same kind of player as Cable, Oyler is another rookie who – damn you, incompatibility of BYU school policy and USAU tournament logistics – could find himself on the podium here without playing at Nationals. He has been the driving force of CHI’s relentless D-line on both sides of the disc, and he is a major reason why they finished the season at #2 in our power rankings.

Dexter Clyburn (California)

It’s easy to get carried away by the play of Evan Magsig and Andrew Roy for Ursa Major this season, but save a thought for the freshman who has been in lockstep with those two throughout. He has been a highly effective deep in Cal’s zone, as well as the first D-line piece to cross over to the offense, where he throws-and-goes as smoothly as his more experienced teammates.

Also in consideration:

  • Josh Singleton (UNC)
  • Assaf Golan (Washington)
  • Declan Kervick (Vermont)
  • Paul Krenik (Minnesota)
  • Cullen Baker (Carleton)
  • Eli Fried (North Carolina)

Breakout Player of the Year

Players who have competed in a college series already and are eligible to return for their second, third, or fourth year of college ultimate are considered for our BPOTY award.

Wyatt Kellman (Massachusetts)

There’s a lot on the line at Regionals for Kellman. The biggest thing in his way for this award may not just be the other BPOTY candidates from the New England, but the teams of his regional rivals. UMass face a tough slate at Regionals, and missing Nationals would put a serious dent in his candidacy. Of course, propelling Zoodisc into one of the two bids would be a good look for the do-it-all standout from Amherst.

Peter Boerth (Northeastern)

While everyone was looking over their shoulder for Ben Field to be the dominant athletic force for Northeastern, Boerth came up on the blind side. The Huskies sophomore has been a godsend for the O-line. He highpoints the disc in the 98th percentile of the division, churns unders in flow, and takes good care of possession. What more can you ask of a young player?

Cam Curney (Brown)

If there is an x-factor that could propel Brown from their spot as a National semis team to heavy title favorite, this is it. The 6’7” Curney is new to the sport, but his field sense and flair for blocks on defensive points are improving at a rapid pace. The deep defense alone could tamp down so much of the opposition’s plans of attack that it might put Brown definitively over the top on its own. Oh yeah, and his offensive game is starting to bloom, too.

Others in Consideration:

  • John Clyde (Texas)
  • Rutledge Smith (North Carolina)
  • Gavin May (California)
  • Gabe Nobis (Oregon)

  1. From Davidson -> CUT -> Cal 

More from Ultiworld
Comments on "D-I Men’s 2022 Awards Shortlists"

Find us on Twitter

Recent Comments

Find us on Facebook

Subscriber Exclusives

  • Deep Look LIVE: Pro-Elite Challenge Recap, UFA Playoffs
    podcast with bonus segment
  • Inside the Circle LIVE: Krokhol Open Rapid Reax
    Subscriber podcast
  • BFG vs. Red Flag (Mixed Final)
    Video for standard subscribers
  • Revolver vs. Rhino Slam! (Men’s Final)
    Video for standard subscribers