March 14, 2023
By Adam Ruffner
Let me just start by saying: This list was damn near impossible to construct. As throwing talent has risen across the league, more and more players are submitting excellent games than ever before. My selection criteria was certainly stats based. But with the abundance of eye-popping performances, I also had to rely on the importance/context of the game, as well as a bit of aesthetics/intangibles to reach some of these conclusions.
Snubs were plentiful—I see you Matt Gouchoe-Hanas 82-completion game and Jordan Rhyne going 70-for-70 with five hucks in his Philly debut—but what remains is premium throwing content.
10. Bobby Ley | Week 10 loss at Carolina
7 assists - 40/43 throws - 443 passing yards - 1 hockey assist - 7/9 hucks
The most cold-to-hot tale of two halves game I have ever witnessed in my time covering this league. Just look at these throwing maps for Bobby Ley.
After throwing three turnovers, one huck, and zero assists in the first half, Ley went supernova starting in the third quarter as the Hustle tried to rally on the road. In a defense-first grind of a game that saw only 34 total scores, Ley accounted for a full half of the total huck completions, and finished with almost 100 more passing yards than the next closest player on either team.
Similar to the small statured Pedro Martinez throwing absolute heat, watching Ley uncork 60-yard backhands and bomb OI flicks up and over the Flyers elite defense while standing well under six feet tall is a singular kind of viewing pleasure as a fan. There are few throwers as explosive.
9. Ryan Poloz | Week 13 loss versus Philadelphia
10 assists - 20/20 throws - 440 passing yards - 2 hockey assists - 7/7 hucks
With just 12 total assists for Ottawa in 2021, Ryan Poloz nearly equaled his rookie year total in his bombastic 2022 season finale with the Rush. There was no performance that balanced potency—Poloz averaged 22 yards per completion and threw an assist on half of his attempts—with perfection quite like this one.
And for all the touch on his tosses, Poloz gets most of his work done with his feet. His setup cuts to get into power position can be almost as long as his throws, and Poloz has a great sense for how to manipulate the mark to get open looks without a hand in his face. The result is a lot of line drive hucks into space for receivers to easily run out in the endzone.
The Rush added some serious receiving firepower this offseason, so it would be no surprise to see Poloz reach the double digit assist level again in 2023.
8. Rowan McDonnell | Week 10 win at Philadelphia
4 assists - 55/56 throws - 289 passing yards - 7 hockey assists - 0/0 hucks
In a game that came down to the final throw at the end of regulation, Rowan McDonnell had no margin for error as the primary passer for the DC Breeze offense. In contrast to many of the big huck performances in these rankings, Rowan dinked and dimed his way through the Philly defense, keeping the disc in motion and putting his teammates in optimal positions. He assisted or set up the assist on a full half of the Breeze scores.
What makes Rowan remarkable is his ability to perform as a star in a support role. The only category he led the team outright in this game was hockey assists, but his impact was in almost every swing and reset pass, which allowed the DC offense to stay consistent, converting 64 percent of their offensive drives in Week 10.
7. Jordan Kerr | Week 1 win at San Diego
9 assists - 31/34 throws - 417 passing yards - 2 hockey assists - 2/2 hucks
After a promising first season with the Spiders in 2021, Jordan Kerr became a full-fledged star in his first start with the Salt Lake Shred. Facing the two-time division champs and a top 10 defense on the road, Kerr and the Shred O-line blitzed the Growlers from the opening pull and never let up, scoring seven goals in the first quarter on their way to the huge 24-22 win to begin Salt Lake’s franchise.
Left handed throwers have a certain advantage in exposing weak points in coverage, and Kerr showed a particular talent for opposite-field throws as a rookie. But in year two, Kerr honed his ability into a weapon and punished the Growlers repeatedly with dagger-like flicks on the backside of their defensive schemes. This quick-draw, highly precise throw would be the calling card of Kerr’s 90-assist campaign in 2022, the second highest single-season assist total in league history.
6. Jay Froude | Week 5 win versus Salt Lake
7 assists - 18/18 throws - 311 passing yards - 1 hockey assist - 3/3 hucks
A battle between two undefeated teams. Numerous All-AUDL and All Defense Team members on the field at once. And among all those stars, it was Jay Froude who shone brightest for the Colorado Summit in their defining comeback win of the season in their franchise’s first ever home opener. Talk about stakes.
Froude didn’t have a turnover on the night, tripled his next highest single game huck completion total of the past two years, averaged over 17 yards per attempt, and tied a personal career best with seven assists.
But the most defining moment of Froude’s big game came late in the third quarter. Pinned on the sideline and with the stall count rising, Salt Lake blanketed the field with seemingly no available options. Half bailout, half highly calibrated missile, Froude found opportunity on the opposite side of the field, in the back corner, and sailed a perfect pass over the entire defense and into the sprinting arms of Quinn Finer.
5. Andrew Roy | Week 13 win at Indianapolis
4 assists - 61/62 throws - 742 passing yards - 7 hockey assists - 2/2 hucks
With dozens of impressive throwing performances from big armed players in the windless indoor confines of Grand Park over the past several seasons, it’s somehow fitting that a precision passer like Andrew Roy would go off for a big game in Indy’s lone outdoor home contest last season. Roy exceeded his previous career high in passing by over 200 yards, and carved up Indy’s defense with an array of throws from varying distances; the normally huck-averse Roy even had the first multiple huck game of his two-year career.
Besides Pawel Janas, Roy was the best passer in the Central Division over the past two seasons. Even with limited range, Roy’s combination of size, confidence, quick decision making, and throwing arsenal allows him to quarterback the offense as he pleases, and renders almost any mark or double team ineffective against him. Time and again, the AlleyCats defense tried to trap Roy with multiple defenders, only for the handler to chisel the disc into an open receiver’s hands.
4. Jack Williams | AUDL Semifinals win versus Carolina
8 assists - 45/47 throws - 380 passing yards - 1 hockey assist - 1/2 hucks
In the first matchup since their 2021 championship duel, Jack Williams got the better of his former team with one of the most effective throwing performances of his career. Playoff Jack registered assists on each of the Empire’s first three scores, highlighted by a 20-yard laser through tight coverage to capitalize on the first break of the game. Williams ended the game with an assist on 40 percent of the points he played.
And as good as he is as a motion passer, what makes Williams so hard to stop as a thrower is his balance and vision. Even when faking and contorting his body around the mark, Williams maintains his core and coordination to an impeccable degree, which allows him to produce a lot of velocity on his throws from virtually any release angle. That balance continually thwarted the attempts of numerous Carolina defenders to shut Williams down.
3. Ryan Osgar | Week 13 win at Philadelphia
10 assists - 33/33 throws - 412 passing yards - 4 hockey assists - 5/5 hucks
The pinnacle performance in an undefeated MVP season, Ryan Osgar had his forehand throw dialed in all night long against the Phoenix. He finished with season highs in assists, throwing yardage, and huck completions, all without committing a single turnover. The whole game was a seminar in the efficiency of Osgar’s throwing abilities.
Coming out of halftime and only leading by two goals on the road, the Empire offense set up in a simple vertical stack formation, with Osgar initiating action at the front. Using a quick jab step, Osgar created space in two directions at once: he got the disc uncontested as a receiver on the break side, which in turn opened up the width of the field for him to attack with his league-best flick huck. The result was almost automatic as Osgar’s 60-yard pass easily found Ben Jagt in stride and pushed their lead to three as the Empire cruised towards a five-goal win.
2. Jonathan Nethercutt | Week 2 win at Portland
9 assists - 64/71 throws - 696 passing yards - 3 hockey assists - 3/6 hucks
In just his second game with the Summit, Jonathan Nethercutt showed the full spectrum of his capabilities and launched hucks, hammers, and no-look assists to the tune of a season-high nine assists and almost 700 yards through the air. It would’ve already been a banner day for the 2017 MVP in dry conditions, but the back half of this game being played during a downpour—and Nutt throwing the game-winning assist in sudden death—really sealed Nethercutt’s spot on this list.
One thing you often notice defenses do when Nethercutt is about to load up with the disc: They backpedal. No thrower has a deep threat gravity quite like Nethercutt, and that pull on defenders opens up many lanes for teammates. And against a Nitro team playing at full strength, Nethercutt’s presence created space all over the field for rookies Quinn Finer and Alex Atkins to exploit.
Note: five of Nethercutt’s incompletions were due to drops in the wet and cold of Portland’s spring.
1. Austin Taylor | Week 4 win versus Austin
11 assists - 30/32 throws - 494 passing yards - 2 hockey assists - 6/7 hucks
More of an artillery siege than a game of ultimate, Austin Taylor set the 2022 AUDL season high for assists and accounted for almost half of the Hustle’s 14 huck completions—a team season high—on the way to Atlanta’s 26-goal bombardment of the Sol. Despite attempting 32 total throws, Taylor still averaged more than 16 yards per completion for the night, the kind of range that would make Steph Curry a little jealous.
Everything about Taylor is quick on the field. His feet, his fakes, his reads, his trigger pull. Even Taylor’s full-range pivots make him seem like he’s playing at a different speed than most. The cumulative sum of these movements is a kind of controlled frenzy, punctuated by a cobra-like whiplash to the way Taylor unleashes on long throws. And when he’s in rhythm, as he was against Austin, Taylor can elevate the entire Hustle offense to a championship level.
Matt Gouchoe-Hanas - June 17 at Atlanta - 2 assists - 82/82 - 299 passing yards
Pawel Janas - July 16 at MIN - 6 assists - 58/61 - 408 passing yards
Jordan Rhyne - April 30 at Boston - 7 assists - 70/70 - 605 passing yards
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