D-III Men’s 2024 Offensive Player of the Year

These elite offensive players helped keep the points flowing for their teams.

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 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.

D-III Men’s 2024 Offensive Player Of The Year

Danny Klein (Williams)

Williams’ Danny Klein winds up a flick at the 2024 D-III College Championships. Photo: Rudy DeSort – UltiPhotos.com

There was perhaps no greater true handler in the division than Danny Klein in the 2024 season. A player with the greenest of green lights, WUFO completely trusted Klein to lead the offense from the backfield. With one of the deepest throwing bags in the game, defenders had to seriously pay attention no matter where they were on the field when Klein had the disc in his hands. Without fear, Klein could unleash a pinpoint throw no one was expecting on a whim. Just look at this scoober to break and take half against Richmond in the semifinals.

Like Brandt’s POTY win, this award almost feels like a career award for Klein, who led his team in assists the last three years and earned himself an All-American spot last year. What’s changed for the better is his precision and decision-making, which has drastically improved ever since his first Nationals in 2022. Two years ago Klein threw 18 assists but 41 turns, and last year he 28 assists and 28 turns. Finally this season, Klein threw a remarkable 40 assists and 29 turns, with nine assists in the finals. As Klein improved so did the entirety of Williams, bringing them from 12th place two years ago, all the way to runners-up this year.

Williams will certainly miss Klein as their center handler next year, but probably more importantly, they will miss the positivity and leadership he provided. Expect that this won’t be the last time you read about Klein if he continues on in club.

– Calvin Ciorba

First Runner-Up

Gordon Larson (St. Olaf)

St. Olaf’s Gordon Larson gets the goal past a bidding Williams player in the 2024 D-III College Championships final. Photo: Sam Hotaling – UltiPhotos.com

Taking a hiatus from the D-line where he spent his formative years, the tail end of Larson’s illustrious five-year career featured an offensive masterclass.

Experience at the semi-pro level meant Larson was easily adaptable, and the transition to offense was seamless. Larson fit right into the huck-heavy approach of the Berzerkers. When Will Brandt or Matt Kompelien found themselves in power position, they would often be greeted by the familiar sight of Larson streaking deep with a commanding lead over his defender. It was a no-brainer shot for the Zerks backline, and it yielded Larson an array of highlights, as well as a team-high 19 goals at Nationals.

While his prowess in the deep space was remarkable, it didn’t fully distinguish him from the likes of the division’s other eminent deep threats. Rather, it was Larson’s excellence in other offensive areas that made him so valuable. As an initiating cutter, Larson could pick up an under and use his extensive bag of throws to hit a continuation deep shot with accuracy. Larson could also provide excellent assistance in the backfield when needed, steadying Olaf’s handler motion. And, on more than one occasion, Larson would dismiss Brandt from his post in the handler set altogether, send him to the backfield, and provide an accurate huck to space. It was a role reversal nearly as effective as the typical Brandt to Larson connection itself.

Larson was unstoppable during the better part of tenure with the Berzerkers. While he’ll be spending the remainder of his career hanging around Minnesota’s elite players, he’ll always be remembered as a proud product of this division.

– Bix Weissberg

Second Runner-Up

 Matt Kompelien (St. Olaf)

St. Olaf’s Matt Kompelien lets loose a flick during the final of the 2024 D-III College Championships. Photo: Sydney Kane – UltiPhotos.com

When readers hear the names Will Brandt, Gordon Larson, and Eric Crosby Lehmann all the time, it’s easy to assume one of them was the Berzerkers’ main O-line handler this year. But in fact, that title belongs to Matt Kompelien, who was the centerpiece for St. Olaf in 2024.

Kompelien was fantastic when it came to playing smart, clean ultimate, and knew his role perfectly. When it was Will Brandt and Gordon Larson’s turn to take over he’d let them, but when Olaf needed someone to drive the offense he was there. Consistency was his best feature, only turning the disc over four times, incredible considering his usage rate. When it comes to D-III and star handlers, most of these high-touch throwers will throw the disc away 20-plus times, but Kompelien was rock solid all weekend in Milwaukee.

That’s not to say he didn’t hold his own either though, as playing consistent doesn’t earn someone an OPOTY spot alone. Kompelien hauled in eight scores and threw sixteen assists, including the finals where he had the best stat line for the Zerks with a 1G/6A/1T game. To get through all the awards without recognizing one of St. Olaf’s best stars would be remiss, and Kompelien is highly deserving of OPOTY second runner-up.

– Calvin Ciorba

  1. Calvin Ciorba
    Calvin Ciorba

    Calvin Ciorba is a D-III Men's writer currently studying Leadership and Economics in his junior year at the University of Richmond. He started his ultimate career in St. Louis, MO playing ultimate at Ladue High School and St. Louis Storm YCC, when he also created the popular frisbee Instagram account Discmemes. Now he has sold the account and plays for the UR Spidermonkeys. You can find him on twitter @calvin_ciorba for passionate takes on the "People's Division."

  2. Bix Weissberg
    Bix Weissberg

    Bix Weissberg plays D-line on the Oberlin Flying Horsecows. He has a love for disc and enjoys writing about DIII college frisbee. In his free time he can be found eating something tasty and smiling. You can reach him at [email protected]

TAGGED: , , , , , , , ,


More from Ultiworld
Comments on "D-III Men’s 2024 Offensive Player of the Year"

Find us on Twitter

Recent Comments

Find us on Facebook

Subscriber Exclusives

  • Pro-Elite Challenge West 2024: Tournament Recap (Women’s Division)
    Subscriber article
  • Huckin’ Eh Subscriber Bonus: Inside look at Boston Invite ft. Kelsey Hayden
    Subscriber podcast
  • Huckin’ Eh: US Tourney and BC Senior Regionals Recaps, No Borders and WJUC Previews
    podcast with bonus segment
  • Club Power Rankings [7/17/24]
    article with bonus content