The Line: Seven Must-See-TV Stars at Nationals (Men’s Division)

Seven men's division players whose heroics make for appointment viewing.

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The Line brings together lists of sevens from our reporting staff.

College Nationals always brings out some of the most exciting ultimate of the year. A lot of the excitement comes from the event’s gargantuan stakes, from rivalries and upsets, from the simple thrill of seeing a group of young people rise together to create something larger than themselves.

There are also players whose skill, while contributing to the larger narratives at play, hold an independent appeal. These are the hi-def players who, win or lose, can’t help but stand out almost to the point of popping out of the screens. Here’s a starting line-up of seven of men’s division’s most telegenic titans.

Cal Poly SLO’s Calvin Brown. Photo: Meg Hofner – UltiPhotos.com

Calvin Brown, #81 Cal Poly SLO SLOCORE

One of the treats of the extended eligibility era has been getting to watch Brown ride one more time for SLOCORE. Ever since he stepped into the center handler role as a freshman in 2019, his throws have been warping the minds of everyone who has seen them. Unrivaled edge control, a true shooter mentality, and tremendous athleticism on defense make put him on the Must-See TV bulletin board.

Best Game to Watch: #6 Cal Poly SLO v. #8 Colorado, Fri. May 24 at 5 PM CT, Showcase Stream


California’s Dexter Clyburn at 2023 NorCal Conferences. Photo: Rodney Chen — UltiPhotos.com

Dexter Clyburn, #14 Cal Ursa Major

Every year, Ursa Major asks Clyburn to take on more responsibility, and every year he rises to the challenge. A textbook deep-deep in the zone who always sees an opportunity for a block, a classic power thrower from both sides who always sees an opportunity for the longball, and a disc-dominant reset handler unafraid of any matchup, Clyburn relishes the big moments in any form.

Best Game to Watch: #14 Cal v. #2 Pittsburgh, Fri. May 24 at 10:30 AM CT, All-Access Stream


Texas TUFF’s John Clyde at 2024 Smoky Mountain Invite. Photo: William “Brody” Brotman – UltiPhotos.com

John Clyde, #25 Texas TUFF

You want hammers? Watch Texas. TUFF throws a lot of them. That might all be due to the influence of their fifth-year superstar, John Clyde. Clyde’s hammers are as smooth as gelato, as towering as redwoods, and as frequent as spam calls. They’re gorgeous, they’re game-breaking, they’re flat-out fun. As a bonus, Clyde will earn his keep in the air on defense, too, in case any of those hammers don’t work out.

Best Game to Watch: #15 Texas v. #7 Brown, Sat. May 25th at 8:30 AM CT, Showcase Stream


Georgia's Aidan Downey winds up a pull at the 2024 ultimate frisbee tournament, the Smoky Mountain Invite. Photo: William "Brody" Brotman - UltiPhotos.com
Georgia’s Aidan Downey winds up a pull at the 2024 Smoky Mountain Invite. Photo: William “Brody” Brotman – UltiPhotos.com

Aidan Downey, #6 Georgia Jojah

The pants-wearing, aggressively silly, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink Georgia star is guaranteed to make a mark on every game he plays. Sometimes that means accelerating for a block that is simply too unlikely to be believed. Sometimes it means contorting for a wild layout catch. Sometimes it means tossing a no-look high-release assist in transition. And sometimes it means one of the most bizarre goal celebrations you’ll ever see.

Best Game to Watch: #1 Georgia v. #5 Oregon, Fri. May 24 at 1 PM CT, Field Pass Stream


Oregon’s Mica Glass lets go of a forehand at the 2023 College Championships. Photo: William ‘Brody’ Brotman — UltiPhotos.com

Mica Glass, #24 Oregon Ego

Let’s go over Glass’ numbers from last year’s Nationals: 11 goals, 17 assists, 6 blocks – as a freshman. Even with All-American Itay Chang on the line with him, there were points when Glass was Ego’s most important player. This time around, he’ll get to show what he’s done with a year of growth. Another double-double from one of the division’s most versatile players seems like the absolute baseline. He’s going to light it up.

Best Game to Watch: #5 Oregon v. #10 Carleton, Sat. May 25 at 10:30 AM CT, Showcase Stream


Henry Ing gets a block against BYU at Florida Warm Up 2023. Photo: William “Brody” Brotman – Ultiphotos.com

Henry Ing, #34 Pittsburgh En Sabah Nur

You knew it was coming. Henry Ing has been a fixture of high-level play in big moments going back to at least his first full season of good health in 2022. It’s easy to see why. He can turn on the gas at the flip of a switch and close out for amazing plays on the disc. Or he can read the field in an instant and dial up a 75-yard huck to just the right spot on the field. With apologies to Pitt teammates who would fit right in on a list like this, Ing stands above them all.

Best Game to Watch: #2 Pittsburgh v. #4 UMass, Fri. May 24th at 3 PM CT, Field Pass Stream


Brown’s Jacques Nissen at the 2023 D-I College Championships. Photo: Kevin Leclaire – UltiPhotos.com

Jacques Nissen, #24 Brown Brownian Motion

Take an unholy amount of adrenaline, bottle it up, and transmute it into a throw. That’ll give you an idea of what a Nissen assist looks like. Now mass produce it. That’ll give you an idea of what a tournament full of Nissen assists looks like. The eagle-eyed, quick-trigger artist has been on a years-long heater, and it’s all culminating at Nationals in 2024 for one final ride.

Best Game to Watch: #7 Brown v. #3 UNC, Fri. May 24th at 10:30 AM CT, Showcase Stream (FREE on YouTube)

  1. Edward Stephens
    Edward Stephens

    Edward Stephens has an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. He writes and plays ultimate in Athens, Georgia.

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