Ultiworld Club Awards 2023: Offensive Player of the Year (Men’s Div.)

Whether moving the disc or racking up points, these players were the best to do it in 2023

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
Defensive Player of the Year Award
Offensive Player of the Year Award
Breakout Player of the Year Award
Coach(es) of the Year Award
Club Awards Voting Breakdown
Snubs and Superlatives


 

2023 Men’s Division Offensive Player of the Year

Joe White (Chicago Machine)

Chicago Machine’s Joe White (right) prepares a reception at the 2023 Club Championships. Photo: Jeff Bell – UltiPhotos.com

Often, the OPOTY category is full of players who carry a huge load for their teams, do some spectacular things with the disc, and rack up their fair share of turnovers. Given Joe White’s history you’d expect him to fit neatly into all three of those categories, but we might be seeing White transcend the foibles of that third prong and change the narrative about himself as a mistake prone gunner. In 2023 the spectacular threat was still there, but many of the mistakes were not, and White turned in what was his most complete offensive season to date.

Operating with freedom in Machine’s offense that prizes flexible hybrid players, White showed an increased command of the most dangerous spaces on the field and was able to get to his spots with frightening regularity. Receiving the disc in motion on the break side, creating big throwing lanes for this teammates, and finding power position from isolation – this next level off-ball movement made him that much harder to cover and made his life easier; he could be just as dangerous and effective without having to make as many high variance plays.

There’s a certain powerful grace White possesses when he moves around the field, never seeming troubled or off-kilter even when exerting maximum effort. In the biggest games of the season at Nationals, against the best defenders in the world, he got open again and again with a few confident strides, the duck of a shoulder and a sharp turn. Despite losing to a red hot Truck Stop in the final, White’s two goal, four assist, turnover-free statline marks out that even in defeat he can be the most impactful and magnetic player on the field.

-Patrick Stegemoeller

First Runner-up

Raphy Hayes (Portland Rhino Slam!)

Portland Rhino Slam!’s Raphy Hayes at the 2023 US Open. Photo: Sam Hotaling – UltiPhotos.com

In the realm of frisbee, legends are forged through contests of plastic. Meet one of the favorites of the frisbee gods, Raphy Hayes. He once skied a man so bad, his defender’s soul detached from his body and rose into the very heavens. His hucks are smoother than a Shakespearean sonnet. His cuts gash the turf and the wind dares not affect his throws out of respect for his greatness. His frisbee bag is a portal to another dimension, as shown by his alien statline of 15 goals, 22 assists, and five blocks to just four turnovers at Nationals.

Even on a Rhino team that didn’t quite meet preseason expectations, his was an OPOTY-worthy campaign, simply topped by a somehow greater feat, but incredible all the same. We can only be grateful spectators to the odyssey of a season Hayes put up this year.

-Jake Thorne

Second Runner-up

Mac Hecht (Boston DiG)

Boston DiG’s Mac Hecht at the 2023 Northeast Regional Championships. Photo: Paul Rutherford – UltiPhotos.com

Mac Hecht’s season long validation of this tweet has been something to behold. Returning to Boston and given the keys to DiG’s offense by his Brown University coaches Jake Smart and Sam Lehman, Hecht immediately looked at home helming one of the top five offenses in the division. With field expanding range, intelligent positioning, and a flurry of mark shattering throws, he helped DiG reclaim their place at Nationals after Boston shockingly failed to qualify in 2022.

The numbers speak for themselves: 48 recorded assists on the season,1 and co-leading Nationals in that category with 22 in San Diego (and that tally is notably short one should-have-been assist!). Believe the number, Hecht was a game changer for Boston all season long.

-Patrick Stegemoeller


  1. includes both Nationals and the US Open 

  1. Jake Thorne
    Jake Thorne

    Jake Thorne is a staff writer for Ultiworld with a focus on the college division. He is a graduate of Cal Poly SLO, where he played for four years. He now lives and works full-time in sales for a fintech company in San Francisco.

  2. Patrick Stegemoeller
    Avatar

    Patrick Stegemoeller is a Senior Staff Writer for Ultiworld, co-host of the Sin The Fields podcast, and also a lawyer who lives in Brooklyn.

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