With the first tournaments of the 2015 college season upon us, it’s time to throw out the first ever SAPP CON preseason power rankings. After what some would consider a down year for the conference, especially at regionals (minus them dawgs), 2015 brings a new opportunity for the SAPP to prove itself as one of the deepest and more competitive conferences in the nation.
Where does your team fall in this week’s power rankings?
Let’s get to it!
9. Georgia Gwinnett
Captains: Zach Hart, Patrick Wortman, Ben Llena, and Matt Roon
Departures: Sam Lannon (Colorado), Bobby Ikebudu (UGA), Nick Risley, JJ Rafferty (GTech), Zach Foster, Andrew Johnson (Georgia State)
Key returners: Walter Derby, Patrick Wortman (Loveshack), Zach Hart (Murmur), Jarrod Sinnock (Loveshack)
Incoming freshmen standouts: Noah Morris (Parkview HS)
As much as I want to put GGC higher after last year’s progression, this year they’ll be losing multiple players who helped them get to that level. Last year GGC was able to upset Georgia State at sectionals, a big step for the program. Not only did they win a game at sectionals, but they scored 6 or more on a couple other solid teams, as well as taking a worn-down Emory to universe point in their final game. I’m interested to see if GGC can keep games with solid teams close this year, and maybe even pull some more upsets.
8. Georgia State
Captains: David Kandler, Sam Kim
Departures: Brett Nelson, Alex Waxmen, Trenton Spinks (Chain), Jack Baker (Leaving for a year abroad), Kenta Kawaguchi (SoHo/transferred to Georgia Tech), Grant Kirby (Coach)
Key returners: Sam Kim (SoHo), Felix Jaffin, David Kandler, Jonathan Bo-o
Incoming freshmen standouts: A few Brookwood kids
Georgia State had one of the best duos in the section lat year in Sam Kim and Trenton Spinks, but with Spinks leaving and Sam currently out of the country (not sure when/if he’s returning to GSU) the boys of the Underground will look a lot different this year. The question is who is going to step up? Not only are they losing the duo they relied on offensively last year, but with the transfer of defensive stud Kenta Kawaguchi to Georgia Tech and their Coach Grant Kirby moving to Auburn, they’ll be looking for new stars to emerge all year.
7. Georgia Southern
Captains: Neal Hollis, Blaine Brown
Departures: CJ Clarke (9 Hammer), Zaki Durry (Bullet), Carver Westendorff (Pluff Mud), Andrew Robertson
Key returners: Neal Hollis, Blaine Brown, Thomas Sowell, Thomas Rink
Incoming freshmen standouts: unknown
After missing out on regionals by one spot last year, Southern will be easily motivated to not let that happen again. Southern seemed to be a very up and down team last year. They started the season hot at Battle of Boro, but by sectionals found themselves on the wrong end of a game-to-go vs Georgia State losing 12-9. With big playmakers like CJ Clarke and Zaki Durry leaving, Southern is in a similar position as State… who will be the next guys to step up? With some solid recruiting (currently unknown), this team could easily move up the rankings throughout the year with an army of younger players coming back.
6. Kennesaw State
Captains: JP Burns, Roland Cherry
Departures: Sun Choi (Chain), Jacob Ussery (Bullet), JJ Workman, Matt Caldwell
Key returners: JP Burns (Chain), Charles Loudermilk (9 Hammer)
Incoming freshmen standouts: Brandon Li (Brookwood/ATLiens)
With one of the most athletically deep teams in the section, Kennesaw would end up only one point from the championship game last year losing to Georgia Tech 15-14, but eventually finished 4th. This year may look a lot different for this team. Losing the disc skills of Sun Choi and Jacob Ussery will hurt this team a lot. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some new faces behind the disc early in the season for developmental purposes. They do however bring back two of the more explosive players in the section, captain JP Burns and Charles Loudermilk. Will this year be a rebuilding year? Will Brandon Li and other freshmen be able to jump right in and successful help carry the team? We’ll see. Until they prove they can live with Sun and company, they’ll be lower in the power rankings.
Captains: Ishaan Dave, Caleb Parsons, Gideon Weiss
Departures: Christian Olsen (Chain), Will Godwin
Key returners: Anders Olsen (Chain), Ishaan Dave (9 Hammer)
Incoming freshmen standouts: Daniel Sperling (ATLiens/Paideia), Mike Bartell (Seattle YCC), Everett Dang (Carolina YCC)
Emory was maybe the most inconsistent team in the section last year. Here’s a stat for you: Last year Emory beat Georgia, but lost to Georgia-B in the same season. Yep that’s real… The biggest question mark for this team will be how it’s able to handle the departure of Chain stud Christian Olsen, maybe the most valuable player in the section last year. With an extremely young group of vets coming back and three big YCC pick ups, Emory will need its youth to play well right away. IF they’re able to focus more on development and playing together as a whole unit (rather than relying on stars), Emory will be one of the more dangerous teams in the section not only this year, but for the next few years. You can expect some early bumps in the road though.
Captains: Taylor Beckett, Tommy Cianciolo
Departures: Paul Lally (NME), Mitchell Shope, John Carden (NME), Jacob Lambert
Key returners: Phillip Dougherty, Mac McClellan, Grant Given, Luke Hudgin
Incoming freshmen standouts: unknown
Tennessee had a solid year last year, especially for a team with not a lot of depth. They could never quite get over the hump last year of being a real threat to the section title. After getting upset by Georgia State at sectionals, Tennessee could never quite fight back to get into that championship contention. So who’s going to step up this year? Having relied on Paul Lally for a lot of their offense, it’s going to be interesting to see how this team moves forward. Not only Lally, but losing Shope, Carden AND Lambert will hurt this team’s already spotty depth. Yet, I can’t drop them lower than 4 because they always seem to do a good job of getting better throughout the year and becoming a dangerous/competitive team come spring.
Captains: Zack Avello, Cody Havens
Departures: Blake Waldron (Freaks), Chris Newsom (Freaks)
Key returners: Tim Barczack (Nooga), Zack Avello (Bullet), Cody Havens (Nooga), Foster Foy, Chase Hammond
Incoming freshmen standouts: unknown
UTC was a part of easily the biggest off-season move in SAPP CON this summer when word was released that Paul Lally (formerly of Tenn/NME) is now attending UTC for grad school. Lally is expected to play his fifth and final year there this season. Another potential big move could be Keith Mize (Auburn) playing his fifth year as well. Depending on his schedule though, Mize would add some great cutter depth to this already young and energetic team. Losing two of your most important handlers is never easy to replace. Waldron and Newsom ran the team at times last year and will be tough to replace. Adding Lally will be huge… plus throw in returners like Tim Barczack and defensive stud Chase Hammond this team is really set to make a push this year for the section final.
2. Georgia Tech
Captains: Stephen Burkot, Devon Rogers, Nick Ryan
Departures: Nathan White (Revolver), David Egbert, Richard Bragg, Tyler Steindorf, Wesley Howell
Key returners: Stephen Burkot (Mixed U23 Australia), Devon Rogers, Nick Ryan, Patrick Panuski, John Dugan
Incoming freshmen standouts: Brookwood stars Jeffrey Monowa, Micah Jo, Chidike Iromuanya and some other Lakeside talent
Good news: Tech is bringing back a lot of talent. Bad news: none of that talent is named Nathan White. Talk about a one-hit wonder. White at times carried Tech to being a very competitive team, not only at sectionals but even on the regional level. With White’s departure though comes an opportunity for Tech to value team play and not rely so much on one guy to do it all. With the return of Stephen Burkot and Devon Rogers, Tech is in great position to challenge for the top spot in the section once again. With the addition of nearby high school talent and Kenta Kawaguchi (GSU/SoHo), this team will have the depth. Will they have guys ready to make the big plays when needed?
Captains: George Summers, Sebi Di Francesco, Parker Bray
Departures: Elliot Erickson (Chain), Tyler Haskell, Mike Peters, Shawn Paul
Key returners: Sam Little (Chain), Parker Bray (Chain), Sebi Di Francesco, Nathan Haskell
Incoming freshmen standouts: YCC kids aplenty
Until any other team even gets close to making nationals, Jojah will be right here…waiting for their next challenger. They’ve won 4 out of the last 5 section titles, losing their only one to Nick Lance (usable excuse). Last year Jojah once again showed their dominance in the section, but not without some slip-ups along the way. With the HUGE losses of Erickson, older Haskell, Peters, and Paul, Jojah is one of the younger teams in the section/region. With that being said, their youth is sick at ultimate. It’ll be interesting to see how Nathan Haskell and Sebi play after their club season off, but you can count on Sam Little, Parker Bray, and George Summers being consistent enough in their play for this team to be good right away.
Is anyone going to challenge the Dawgs this year?
Will any of the bottom half of section give us a surprise?
We’ll see. The season is upon us, and THAT IS AWESOME. Some major fall tourneys on the horizon, which means more adjusted power rankings, tourney previews, and articles to come.
Now everyone go argue why I’m wrong and you’re right in the comments. ALSO, if you have anymore info on your team you’d like for me to know about, hit up the comment section and I’ll add it (if I like it)