1. Barry Butler III – Michigan State
This year’s rookie class brought in some incredible talent nationally, but when you look across the season one name stood out above the rest – Barry Butler III. Barry had begun to make a name for himself from the first point he played in. He’s already developed into one of Michigan State’s top arms and has strong catching abilities. He learns the game quickly and already has more court awareness than most seasoned vets. It’s hard to watch him play and remember that he’s only a rookie, this kid seems like he can do it all. Beyond his skill set, his work ethic is unparalleled and he is always striving for improvement. Barry has the potential to be a future NCDA MVP.
2. Ryan Ginsberg – Ohio State
Ginsberg was a big time pick up for the Buckeyes last year. The prowess he shows on the court comes through in a big way, especially when it comes to catching. I’ll call it now that Ryan will continue to be one of the best catchers in the NCDA for the rest of his career. A lot of freshman don’t gain enough confidence on the court to shine until their 2nd or even 3rd year, but Ryan had that swagger from day one. Ryan will continue to grow as a player and leader for OSU in the coming years, so look for an NCDA championship to come back to central Ohio sooner rather than later.
3. Tyler Peach – Grand Valley State
GVSU’s Tyler Peach turned some heads during his rookie campaign thanks to his raw talent and more importantly his work ethic. Peach is a strong all around player with a good arm and well above average catching instincts. He showed from very early on that he had a good grasp of the strategies of the game and looked at home on the court. It’s been said that Peach would often put in extra time with GVSU star (and 2020 NCDA Player of the Year) Ben Smart, honing his skills. When we finally get back to playing dodgeball again, Peach is a safe bet to have a breakout sophomore campaign and turn into one of GVSU’s most well-known players.
4. Thomas McCants – Miami
McCants was one of the most fun players to watch during the 2020 season. His athleticism made him a very elusive player who was hard to take out, and additionally he succeeded well in the transition game to be a focal point for Miami’s offense. One of his best moments this past season was against GVSU. Despite the powerhouse that is GVSU, McCants was able to display that athletic prowess and help give his team a comeback to send the game to overtime against GV. Look for McCants to continue to be a presence for Miami in years to come.
5. Peter Morgan – Towson
For a couple years now Towson has been able to churn out some incredible stars in the college dodgeball world. After their championship in 2019, they were once again able to get an amazing recruiting class to pick up where the previous one had left off. This class was headlined by Peter Morgan, who arguably has had the best rookie debut for the Tigers since Joe Rindone. In only his first season, Morgan was able to showcase exceptional talent. He was often dominating the attack line and mastered his pinch throw in a short amount of time which made him a feared player on the East Coast.
6. Ryan Engelman – Cincinnati
UC continues to be a team that quickly develops talent despite being a brand new team, and Ryan Engelman is a perfect example. Ryan was a standout this season for one reason and one reason alone; catching. While his offensive game still needs a lot of work, Ryan could be seen diving all over the court for UC, making unbelievable catch after catch. He may already be one of the absolute best pure catchers in the entire league as a rookie. Ryan reminds us a lot of UK alumni Drew Greenawalt with his knack for seemingly always being in the correct spot or jumping in front of vulnerable teammates at the last moment to snag a catch. When play resumes across the NCDA, be sure to know exactly where Ryan is lurking on the court or you might just be a few seconds from your team’s out line.
7. Jack Girling – Michigan State
Jack may be a freshman, but he’s quietly become one of the most reliable players on a stacked Spartan roster. His court IQ is unbelievable and he seems to always make big plays when needed. A consistent arm for Michigan State, he also showed off clutch catching abilities and worked his way on to MSU’s OT-6 roster. His best asset, however, is that he may be the most coachable player in the league – you never have to tell him something twice. Girling has the potential to become a household name in the Michigan region and develop into a well-rounded leader for the Spartans.
8. PJ Antalek – Akron
PJ was at the top of a great recruiting class for the Zips, as they lost their top talents from last season. He quickly stepped up as a go to guy for the young Akron squad. A precise thrower on the throw line, and a reliable counter arm has helped him grow into one of the premier throwers for this team. Despite his inexperience, PJ was able to adapt to the speed of the game quickly due to his natural athleticism, and gain great court awareness. His catching ability in transition is not matched by many, and his aggressiveness on the front line has gained Akron the ball advantage on many occasions. Look for PJ to take on a leading role when play resumes.
9. Josh Kramer – Michigan State
He may be a rookie, but you should already know not to throw at #5 on Michigan State. Josh has some of the best hands in Michigan, and could potentially develop into the best hands in the league. He has been a key player for the Spartans in pulling out clutch plays and swinging momentum. It may come as a surprise, but Josh was the first rookie to make Michigan State’s OT-6 roster this past season, only adding to Michigan State’s very successful rookie class. I fully believe that Josh could become the most dangerous catcher in the league as he grows and improves his game.
10. Thomas Williamson – Grand Valley State
In his first season of dodgbeall, Thomas Williamson rapidly developed his skillset and turned into a reliable starter for national powerhouse Grand Valley State. Williamson is one of the hardest throwers on this list, making his talent stand out from early on in his rookie campaign. As the season went on, Williamson rounded out his game, becoming a more accurate and instinctive thrower, getting down the overall strategy of the game, and truly gaining confidence. With the way Williamson was playing at the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, it’s safe to say he will be a household name in the NCDA as early as the 2021 season!
11. Daniel Skoumal – Wisconsin Platteville
In his first year, Daniel was able to pick up the game and make a big impact on the court. Daniel is the type of individual that is very coachable and always looks to improve and learn from the veteran players. As each tournament went by, he became more comfortable on the court and his understanding of the game increased exponentially. One of his best skills on the court is his quick release throw, which packs a punch. He certainly was making strides to push into UWP’s OT roster by the end of the season. It is for these reasons he has been selected by his teammates to be captain next season and I cannot wait to see what he will bring next year.
12. Tristan Baller – Saginaw Valley State
Tristan quickly proved himself to be a huge pickup for Saginaw Valley as he almost instantly developed into a reliable dodgeballer. He has great court IQ, an accurate throw, and confident catching abilities. He proved that he can quickly adapt to play and step up for the Cardinals, seeking out plays rather than waiting for a play to develop. His well-rounded abilities made him a clear candidate for this year’s All-Rookie class. If he continues to work hard, Tristan will have no problem becoming a top tier player in the Michigan region and become a strong leader both on and off the court.