The Open Callahan Race 2012

by | April 26, 2012, 12:16pm 0

Highlights? That’s where a Callahan is born. Performance? It all comes down to Regionals. Can you get your team to nationals? Are you a ridiculous baller that no one can defend? Or can you put the team on your back? We’ve gotten to the point where the candidates are pretty evident, but none the less, here are our top 5 and some more guys worthy of recognition.

1a. Nick Lance – Georgia Tech

By now you should have seen highlights of Nick Lance being able to throw from anywhere on the field, including this ridiculous Scoober (yes, they get capitalized on this blog). Lance is the reason that Georgia Tech is going to be at least a top 3 seed at South East regionals. Dangerous as a thrower from any spot on the field, it’s usually his flick huck that gets put full field to one of his teammates. Near the end line he doesn’t hesitate to throw cross field hammers into the wind, or pop a push pass up the line that rivals most college throwers flip backhands.

Being one of the top throwers in the nation does not mean you garner respect as a top 5 Callahan Nominee, as these guys are supposed to be multidimensional. With the addition of Jay Clark, Lance has been able to be a force down the field as well. Going deep against a defender that’s usually built for handling, well Lance can take them deep and sky if necessary. If the game requires, you’ll see him on most of the other team’s top cutters. From a marking stand point, just ask Dartmouth about the double game point hand block at Centex.

If he can will his team in a hotly contested Southeast Region to Nationals, I think you’re looking at someone deserving of the Callahan.

1b. Eric Johnson – Luther

We don’t want to consider last season in terms of Callahan for this year, but I had every other candidate pegged for potential before 2011 nationals. Johnson exploded on day 1, leading his squad to wins over Florida, UC Santa Cruz with jaw dropping play after play. This year, it was evident that Luther was a completely different squad without him. Going from a miserable Free State Classic, to earning a strength bid in the top 20. Johnson certainly has the ability to hit people deep, but his athleticism is what makes him special.

Going deep on universe for the win over Illinois at Centex? Check. Stud defense, with big layout D’s? Check. Skying Jimmy Mickle in pool play, then going deep? What else do you need (besides a highlight video), this guy is one of the pure talents in the college game. Luther is almost certainly making it to nationals (UW-Milwaukee) so for Johnson, this weekend is his time to state his case. Should Luther pull out some upsets, we all know people will look his way.

Why is he 1b instead of 1a? Lance and Johnson are different players in my eyes, but both help lead their team. Johnson came onto a squad that had made nationals in 2009, and has some very good players around him. None the less, you cannot go wrong voting for this guy.

3. Alex Thorne – Pittsburgh

If only we had statistics, I think we would find Alex Thorne at the top of the list in offensive production. What he lacks in size he makes up for in some of the most dangerous break throws in the nation. Despite having the capability to handle, he is able to cut well off of Tyler Degirolamo and almost always jump starts the offense. He won our MVP award at Easterns, and certainly deserved it. What’s surprising is how many goals he has racked up, and his production has been ridiculous. He certainly wouldn’t see that kind of production without his teammates, but it does take a skill to play with talent. He may be the most deadly man near the end zone in the game right now.

4. Tyler Degirolamo – Pittsburgh

Two players in the top 5? Well, you better believe it. Degirolamo has developed from a deep cutter to a man who can even run the show around the end zone if necessary. Force him in and Thorne out? He’s not afraid to take the shot with a newly featured backhand huck. We all know that a 6’3” player is going to be prototyped as a deep cutter, but he hasn’t been afraid to add dimensions to his game. We’ve watched Pittsburgh for the most part play separate O and D lines, which is the smart way to go through the regular season (when you’re number 2 in the country). However, Degirolamo got some love on defense early in the year when he matched up against Mischa Freystaetter. Degirolamo won that match up early putting Pittsburgh up a break that they never looked back from.

That five spot…

Rather than name a 5th best player in the country, I think we’re looking at several candidates that could shine through and also even crack the top 4 depending on nominations.

Jimmy Mickle- Colorado

The Jimmy Mickle show, starring…Jimmy Mickle. He’s done a fantastic job all year long handling, cutting, jump starting the offense and matching up on the other team’s best player. He’s done all this while playing a majority of the points. Colorado has certainly grown throughout the year to use the rest of their team more, but Mickle will be relied on throughout the series to get the job done when it counts.

Dylan Freechild – Oregon

The question all year long has been, will this man be nominated? He tore up NexGen, and is still only a sophomore. Oregon is a very talented team, and Freechild has mostly been a piece of the puzzle. The hucks are there, the speed, and especially the defending. He has the rare gift of being able to shut down handlers. I would not hesitate to call him the best handler defender in the country, especially after what I saw him do in the club world. Freechild is certainly one of the most talented players in the country, but his production has been diminished on how good of a team he has been on.  But? No, he’s still deserving of top 5 status if he gets nominated, but let’s not worry too much. We’re almost certain he’s going to take home this award in the future unless he leaves early for the AUDL draft.

Are we leaving people off this list? Without a doubt there are plenty of stud players left in the college world.

Ben Funk – Stanford – Athletic cutter and defender

Jeremy Norden – Whitman – Superb handler that helps his savage squad compete

Julian Childs-Walker – Carleton – As I like to say he’s Mr. Cut, he exhibits the typical CUT style of cutting and always seems to be around when needed.

Alex Simmons – Wisconsin – Distributor, makes the Hodag’s offense run, without him they are certainly not in the hunt for a national championship

Jack Hatchett – Tufts – Best all around defender in the country, has been a huge help at the end of games and reason why Tuft’s pulls out so many universe point wins.

Now let’s see those highlight videos!

Feature photo of 2011 Callahan winner George Stubbs of Harvard by Kevin Leclaire (

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