Just like a couple of other previews we’ve mentioned, the preview of Georgia’s Ultimate team is going to be more focused on who isn’t there anymore than who is still there. Jojah has become a staple of the Nationals scene and seems to reload on talent every year no matter who leaves but there is no question that last year’s graduating class was one of its best in recent history.
We won’t tell you everyone Georgia is missing this year but for starters there is Rob Herrig, if you saw Georgia play any time in the last two seasons, than you saw the older of the two Herrig brothers picking up the disc. Herrig was a confident thrower for the team and a dependable reset. On top of that, he was a leader on the field that saw just as much playing time as anyone else on the team. Don’t take our word for it, take a look at these two videos (here and here). We’ll give you one guess who it is that’s picking up the disc in both of them.
Jojah will also be missing Taylor Nilan. Nilan has seen and done it all for the UGA program over the last five years. He began his career on the B-team and worked his way up to the A-squad as a d-liner before finally becoming one of the more prominent players on the team. As a cutter, defender and thrower Nilan was hard to match. He’s gotten long looks from the club scene too, being the last player cut from Chain’s roster both of the last two seasons. Once again, don’t take our word for it, look for #20 in the black arm band… the one that gets punched in the face and uncorks the 80 yard back hand to beat Oregon in this video. (UGA footage starts at 14:00 but you probably should just watch the whole thing.)
Finally there is Peter Dempsey, we could go on and on about how much Georgia is going to miss this and this or we could tell you how high he finished in the Callahan voting or the fact that he has been first team All-Region for the past three years but really, these things start to get repetitive. Suffice it to say that Dempsey belongs in the same category as the Deavers, Tunnells, Hammonds and Swansons as one of the greatest Ultimate players to ever come out of UGA.
Of course, all of this is old news to the Jojah players that have been left behind. All in a seasons work for new captain Caleb Edwards.
“We definitely lost some big time players, but that happens to every team at some point,” Edwards wrote to us in an e-mail. “Fortunately, everyone that is not a rookie has experience playing at nationals and knows what it takes to make it there. Everyone is putting in the work to make it to Nationals again.”
Well, not everyone loses players of that caliber every season. Seeing as not everyone has players of that caliber every season. However, Edwards makes it clear that he still believes UGA has the players to make it back to Nationals. Starting with senior Matt Bailey who, though studying abroad this weekend, is ready to play a huge role on Georgia’s team this season.
Edwards, Charlie Herrig and Tom Ball are all equally prepared to step up their contribution to the team but Edwards considered this to be the best tryout for UGA-A in recent history and expects it to show on the field.
Tryouts went great and we had a hard time making the final cuts,” Edwards said. “High school ultimate is really growing in the Atlanta area, so a lot of guys already have a lot of experience when they came to tryouts. Also, our B team has been doing a great job developing players and getting them ready to play for the A team.”
The host team has a lot to prove as it will be meeting with a new Regional rival during pool play in Alabama, last year’s Bama Sectional Champion. Edwards believes that his team, despite not playing in a competitive tournament yet this fall, is ready for that challenge.
“We have been working hard at practice,” Edwards wrote. “The whole team is pumped to get to play at CCC.”