Ultiworld’s Club Awards 2022: Offensive Player of the Year (Men’s)

The players who left defenses stumped this club season.

Ultiworld’s 2022 Club Awards are presented by Breakmark; all opinions are those of the author. They have given away almost 1000 reversibles this year and want to get to 2500 and beyond. Find out how you can help and get yours at Breakmark.com!

Ultiworld is pleased to announce our annual Club Awards. While we consider both regular season and postseason performance, because of the nature of the Club Division, we weight success in the Series and at Nationals above all else. The Club Awards are voted on by Ultiworld reporters, contributors, and editors.

Our awards continue with the Offensive Player of the Year, recognizing the individual, and two runners-up, who we felt had the most impactful and productive seasons helping their teams score. They set up goals, finished off points, and produced yardage at consistently high levels against the top defenders.

Player of the Year Award
All-Club First Team
All-Club Second Team
Offensive Player of the Year Award
Defensive Player of the Year Award
Breakout Player of the Year Award
Coach of the Year Award
Club Awards Voting Breakdown

2022 Offensive Player of the Year

Jimmy Mickle (New York PoNY)

New York PoNY’s Jimmy Mickle. Photo: Brian Canniff — UltiPhotos.com

The PoNY offense does not suffer from a lack of variety. On the contrary, they’ll scramble looks and roles to make you dizzy. Isolation pull plays to Harper Garvey? Chris Kocher in the backfield all point? Ben Jagt shooting long? Sean Keegan and Sam Little trying their hands at a little bit of everything? It was all in the playbook for the versatile O-line.

But all of that off-speed stuff only works well if you have one hell of a fastball – if you have Jimmy Mickle.

It’s simple, really. Exhibit A: semifinal of Nationals, Mickle gets the disc ten yards ahead of the goal line on the backhand sideline and sends a forehand to the diagonally-opposite back corner at just the right speed that the defender doesn’t have a play. Exhibit B: semifinal of Nationals, Mickle hair-trigger winds up and releases a backhand like he’s driving the fairway at Winthrop Gold, it gets over the deep defender’s head before he realizes it’s up and drops into the receiver’s lap. Having a thrower who can hit either of those shots, let alone both of them, entirely changes the balance of the field. He is the simple wedge that opens up the most elaborate possibilities.

Toss in the signature head fake that heralds the most devastating upline move in the game, and every contest against PoNY becomes a question of exactly how much – not whether, not how, not when – Mickle is going to beat you. It’s been like this so long that it feels like an eternal given – but it isn’t a given for an individual to exert such influence over the field of play for so many years. It’s the rarest gift in sport. However long Mickle’s spectacular prime lasts, we can all count ourselves lucky to get to have watched it once more this season.

Edward Stephens

First Runner-Up

Tyler Monroe (Washington DC Truck Stop)

Washington DC Truck Stop’s Tyler Monroe. Photo: Kevin Leclaire — UltiPhotos.com

Call him Mr. Automatic. For the second year in a row, Tyler Monroe blitzed Nationals with an eye-poppingly efficient line: seven goals, 18 assists, and a single turnover.1 A Six Sigma upper management geek could not make Monroe’s game any leaner. There isn’t any fat left to trim.

What we have here is a fully-optimized, slice-and-dice ‘em scoring machine. There isn’t a mark in the division who could do anything against Monroe’s massive pivot near the goal line, to say nothing of his any-angle-will-do around backhand. And on a line with roughly a million quality resets, he even managed to stand out for his ability to stay open in the backfield. What a year, what a player. Monroe finished a hair’s-breadth away from the top spot in our voting – a minor distinction in the face of what was a tremendous performance by one of the sport’s exceptional talents.

Edward Stephens

Second Runner-Up

Joe White (Chicago Machine)

Chicago Machine’s Joe White at the 2022 Pro Championships. Photo: Brian Whittier

Joe White is a kind of hybrid. That is to say, not so much hybrid in his position on the field, but in the sense that he plays as if he is the product of a genetic splicing experiment. Combine the backfield agility of Gus Norrbom, the power forehand of Markham Shofner, the speed of Alex Davis on a beeline to the end zone, Simon Montague’s standstill backhand huck, airbounce control straight out of a 1970’s freestyle promotional video: you end up with a Joe White-esque figure who still doesn’t quite amount to the genuine article.

Is it irresponsible to speculate that he is the preeminent offensive talent in the history of the game? Probably, but it’s a mark of how good he can be that you definitely thought about it for a second. The final piece of the puzzle is that his only known kryptonite – himself – was seldom in range this season. All of which is to say that in 2022, White was somehow even greater than the sum of his superpowers.

Edward Stephens

  1. This isn’t a multi-year award, but his combined 2021-2022 Nationals line of 15G/38A/2T deserves some sort of special recognition. Or at least a footnote. 

  1. Ultiworld

    Ultiworld is the premier news media site dedicated to the sport of ultimate. This article includes the work of a number of our staff or contributors that have been identified within the piece.

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