D-I Men’s Div. 2024 All-American First Team

Recognizing the top seven performers of the 2024 season.

Each year, Ultiworld presents our annual College Awards. Our staff evaluates the individual performances of players from throughout the season, talking to folks around college ultimate, watching film, and look at statistics, voting upon the awards to decide those to be honored. The regular season and the college Series are both considered, with extra emphasis for performances in the competitive and high-stakes environment at Nationals.

Our All-American teams recognize the top performers across the division. While in the past Player of the Year has been awarded first, this year we open our Awards with our First Team All-Americans, displaying the top seven players who had the best seasons. Listed in alphabetical order, the First Team now serves as a finalist list for the Player of the Year Award, which will be announced live tomorrow on Deep Look.


D-I Men’s All-American First Team

 

UNC Darkside’s Ben Dameron at the 2024 D-I College Championships. Photo: Sam Hotaling – UltiPhotos.com

Ben Dameron (UNC)

After an all-club showing with Ring of Fire in 2023, Dameron brought much of the same polish and downfield dominance we’ve come to expect from him to this year’s Darkside team. With Smith moving to D-line, the throwing load tilted downfield this year, and Dameron became one of the most prolific deep throwers in the college field. What was already one of the most balanced playing styles in the division became that much more lethal, as he remained dominant athletically and phenomenally steady with the disc in his hands.

 

Georgia’s Aidan Downey (center) wins the 2024 Callahan Award. Photo: Sam Hotaling – UltiPhotos.com

Aidan Downey (Georgia)

What didn’t Downey do this season? His snake-in-the-grass block and helixing low-release scoober from the Easterns final still stand out as plays of the season across the division. Starting on offense or defense, in the backfield or as an initiating cutter, Downey expanded his game, showcased his diverse talents, and made room for his teammates to shine. His unique combination of high-level skill and S-tier goofballery on the sideline befit both a Callahan Award winner and an All-American.

 

Brown’s Leo Gordon catches the swing during pool play at the 2024 D-I College Championships. Photo: Sam Hotaling – UltiPhotos.com

Leo Gordon (Brown)

There are double-doubles, and then there are double-doubles. Gordon posted one of the latter, finishing Nationals with 18 goals and 34 assists: the third- and second-highest tallies in the division, respectively. Multiple opposing players characterized him (and teammate Nissen, see below) as unguardable in the bracket. That would be tremendous enough on its own. But when it applies to a player who spent most of the spring trying to get back up to game speed while recovering from injury? Gordon’s finish to 2024 was simply incredible.

 

Pittsburgh En Sabah Nur’s Henry Ing at the 2024 D-I College Championships. Photo: Sam Hotaling – UltiPhotos.com

Henry Ing (Pittsburgh)

Ultiworld’s 2023 D-I Men’s Player of the Year returned for one more college season. With another powerful display of grace and fitness, Henry Ing once again proved he is one of the most talented college players ever to play in the division. Able to connect both ends of a huck, lock down another team’s top player, and keep tabs on the pulse of his team as a respected leader, Ing’s combination of physical dominance, throwing prowess, and emotional leadership does not have a peer at the moment in college – or, arguably, across the entire sport.

 

Brown’s Jacques Nissen throws a backhand past trailing Cal Poly SLO defenders in the final of the 2024 D-I College Championships. Photo: Sam Hotaling – UltiPhotos.com

Jacques Nissen (Brown)

The division’s premier thrower, Nissen racked up a Nationals-leading 38 assists en route to a B-Mo championship. There’s an argument to be made that his ability to command the flight of the disc to meet any moment – short or long, soft or speedy, nose-up or bladey, flat or bent, rightside-up or upside-down – was the single most impactful skill of the season. Toss in plenty of timely deep cutting and a much more attack-heavy mindset on defense, and you have the formula for an easy All-American selection.

 

Cal Poly SLO SLOCORE’s Anton Orme at the 2024 D-I College Championships. Photo: Sam Hotaling – UltiPhotos.com

Anton Orme (Cal Poly SLO)

In the golden age of “True Hybrids,”  there was perhaps no better embodiment of that skill set this season than the third-year captain of SLOCORE. Already one of the best initiating cutters in the country last season, Orme added improved defensive chops this year, which proved essential to a SLO team that relied heavily on him as the first player to cross over for important defensive possessions. Orme was instrumental in pushing Cal Poly’s to their first appearance in a final in school history and was as unfailingly poised on that grandest of stages as he had been for the entire magnificent SLOCORE season.

 

UNC Darkside’s Rutledge Smith at the 2024 D-I College Championships. Photo: Sam Hotaling – UltiPhotos.com

Rutledge Smith (North Carolina)

2024 was the year Smith got to flex his full versatility as a player. After years of breaking defenses with his world-class array of throwing angles and slippery backfield cutting, this season he proved he’s also a world-class lane-cutter, deep finisher, and – crucially – lockdown matchup defender. The fact that he spent most of Nationals in the defensive trenches for Darkside, playing havoc on the opposition’s best, didn’t dim his star in the least. It was an all-around performance to remember from one of the division’s acknowledged greats.

  1. Edward Stephens
    Edward Stephens

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

  2. Alex Rubin
    Alex Rubin

    Alex Rubin started writing for Ultiworld in 2018. He is a graduate of Northwestern University where he played for four years. After a stint in Los Angeles coaching high school and college teams, they moved to Chicago to experience real seasons and eat deep dish pizza. You can reach Alex through e-mail ([email protected]) or Twitter (@arubes14).

  3. Emmet Holton
    Emmet Holton

    Emmet grew up playing ultimate in the Bay Area and played 5 years on Cal Poly SLOCORE from 2019 to 2023. He currently lives in Berkeley, CA and works as an architectural designer in San Francisco.

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