May 8, 2013 by Charlie Eisenhood in Livewire with 50 comments
It’s quite a year for selecting a Callahan winner in both divisions. Thanks to ever-increasing game footage, players are becoming not just regional but also national stars (also in large part in the Open Division due to the NexGen tour). Despite all of the excellent players and their shining resumes, I would not hesitate to cast a vote for Tyler DeGirolamo.
I have spent a lot of time watching ultimate over the past year. I’ve seen almost every one of the top candidates — live and in person — play at the college level, the club level, and, for some of them, on the NexGen tour.
There is no player in the college game as dominant as Tyler DeGirolamo. It is as simple as that.
He has now finished at the last two College Nationals with the most number of goals scored. He led the NexGen tour in goals scored and stood head and shoulders above the rest of the ’12 tour with the highest involvement yards. He also stands alone as the most effective goal scorer, by a mile. Just browse his stats from the NexGen tour — outstanding on both offense and defense. And that’s against the country’s best club players. Imagine how he matches up against college kids (and next to him, many of them look like kids).
The answer is that he is unguardable. He is simply too big, too fast, too strong, and too skilled with the disc. Back him by ten yards? Fine, he beats you under and hucks to a continuation cut. Try to stay tight? He will beat you deep, often easily, as illustrated by the number of pancake endzone catches in his Callahan video.
His athleticism is only made more potent by his awareness on the field and his ability to take over games. At Warm Up, with Pitt trailing Dartmouth in what looked like it would be a shock upset, he stepped up and had two goals, four assists, and a critical point block down the stretch to win it.
Now, of course, you can explain similar hype around any of the top guys. The difference maker is that DeGirolamo makes all of it look easy. He simply crushes the best defenders in the game, getting huge separation on cuts. Ultiworld’s Wes Cronk called him the closest thing to the “Lebron James” of Ultimate — his package of athleticism, speed, dedication, and big-game talent just surpasses the rest of the field. He consistently dominates on offense, takes the toughest matchups when he plays defense, and rarely has a bad game.
Yes, DeGirolamo benefits from playing with Alex Thorne, a true great in the game in his own right. But every one of the Callahan nominees is being supported by excellent players around them.
There are legitimate knocks on DeGirolamo: I don’t care much for his attitude when the team isn’t playing at its best. He seems frustrated by his teammates at times, and can come across as whiny. But I really feel that that is overshadowed by his outstanding talent. He is the best player in college and should win the Callahan award.
I would implore potential voters: don’t vote for the best Callahan video. Go back and watch game tape, watch the players over the course of an entire season. DeGirolamo is the best. He has a National title, he has three scoring titles on the biggest stages, and he can dominate on both sides of the disc. As good as players like Dylan Freechild and Jimmy Mickle are, this is TD’s year.