September 26, 2019
Introducing the inaugural All-AUDL rookie teams.
All-AUDL Rookie First Team
- Henry Fisher, Raleigh Flyers
- Joc Jimenez, Los Angeles Aviators
- Danny Landesman, Los Angeles Aviators
- Keenan Laurence, San Jose Spiders
- Quentin Roger, Montreal Royal
- Drew Swanson, Chicago Wildfire
- Eric Taylor, Raleigh Flyers
All-AUDL Rookie Second Team
- Garrett Braun, DC Breeze
- Joe Cubitt, Detroit Mechanix
- AJ Merriman, DC Breeze
- Akifumi Muraoka, Toronto Rush
- Sacha Poitte-Sokolsky, Montreal Royal
- Jack Shanahan, Chicago Wildfire
- Quinn Snider, Minnesota Wind Chill
|Sacha Poitte- Sokolsky||MTL||2nd||12||244||18||39||3||256||94.1|
Despite a large amount of turnover during the offseason, the DC Breeze still finished with an offense that ranked third overall in the league in efficiency. One of the primary contributors to the Breeze's smooth offensive flow was Garrett Braun, who stepped up alongside 2018 MVP Rowan McDonnell and handler Nate Prior to give DC another playmaker. Braun usually began drives upfield as a receiver, but showed a lot of fluidity in moving back into the handler space and becoming an able passer.
One of just nine players in the league in 2019 to finish with 30+ assists and 500+ completions, Joe Cubitt established himself as one of the premier throwers in the AUDL in his first season. Borderline ambidextrous with the disc, Cubitt displayed a full arsenal of passes that helped give the Mechanix offense a puncher's chance whenever he was on the field. Cubitt also showed a lot of skill when playing in coverage, generating a team-high 11 blocks despite playing over 80 percent of his points with the O-line.
Henry Fisher announced his presence to the AUDL by scoring 11 goals in his first two games as a pro, and the 6'6" All-Star receiver didn't slow down from there. He scored 4+ goals in eight of his nine apperances in 2019, including a season-high eight goals against the eventual champion Empire on June 22. But for as many accolades as he garnered as a receiver, Fisher was also brutally efficient as a thrower, using his size and speed to command numerous Flyers drives as a distributor.
Joc Jimenez spent two of his first three games as a pro plugging into defensive coverage schemes before transitioning to the offense and erupting as one of the league's best goal scorers. Using his 6'1" frame, blazing speed, and bunny-like hops, the teenage phenom from Colombia finished his rookie season 11th in the league in goals. Far from a one dimensional playmaker, Jimenez displayed a full skillset with his throws and field IQ that vastly exceeds his age.
Danny Landesman didn't graduate high school until midway through the 2019 AUDL season. But by that point, the SoCal prodigy had already made a name for himself thanks to his highlight reel grabs and penchant for being in the right place at the right time. But maybe moreso than the raw offensive production, Landesman impressed with his instincts and veteran's vision of the field: He finished 2019 with seven games without throwing a turnover.
After beginning the year on defense playing for any kind of starting role, Keenan Laurence finished 2019 as the Spiders team MVP, scoring multiple goals in eight of his last nine games. This soaring-layout-catch-to-assist sequence sums up Laruence's all-around ability, and his 98 percent completion rating was tops among all rookies; he registered just four total turnovers in 11 games.
With the Breeze implementing an entirely new defensive lineup to start the 2019 season, there were a lot of questions as to who would step up in coverage to help extend the team's playoff streak. Enter local DC teenage product AJ Merriman, who emerged as the team's go-to coverage defender and top blocks getter in his debut season. Merriman used his springy athleticism and nose for the disc to stifle some of the East Division's best receivers, and he has an immensely high ceiling going forward.
With the possible exception of Cubitt, no rookie had a larger role in 2019 than Akifumi Muraoka. He immediately stepped into an established Rush offensive system and produced as a primary downfield option, helping the team make its seventh straight postseason appearance. Muraoka's fast-twitch, run-and-gun style meshed perfectly with Toronto's uptempo pace, and he showed no fear in stepping up to make plays in big moments.
2019 AUDL goals leader Quentin Bonnaud deservedly made a lot of headlines for his play at receiver, but Sacha Poitte-Sokolsky executed nearly flawlessly in a complementary role aside his French countryman. Poitte-Sokolsky quietly registered four 5+ goal games while also completing 256 passes, showing off a well balanced offensive repertoire as a continuation cutter. In fact, he was just one of six players in the AUDL to finish with 35+ goals and 250+ completions this year; four of the five other players to reach those marks were considered MVP finalists.
The most anticipated member of the Royal's squad of French imports, Quentin Roger lived up to the hype. It took Roger a few games to get accustomed to the dimensions and speed of the pro field, but once he did, he was one of the most creative and powerful throwers in the league; Roger had just eight assists on 65-of-71 throws (91.55 percent) in his first five games; he threw 31 assists on 294-of-306 (96.08 percent) in his final seven outings of 2019, including four straight games with 4+ assists and 30+ completions to finish his rookie campaign.
Like a tight end in football, Jack Shanahan used his large frame, good hands, and nimble feet to carve out an impactful role on the Chicago offense in his first professional season. He was touted for making big plays as a receiver heading into the 2019 season, but Shanahan really shined as a downfield thrower, too. He was also consistent: He registered 2+ goals in 10 out of his 13 appearances, helping the Wildfire earn their first playoff appearance since 2015.
Though the Winnipeg native didn't get a whole bunch of playing time in 2019, Quinn Snider looked like a star when he did take the field for the Wind Chill. A natural talent downfield, Snider registered at least four goals in each of his five rookie outings, scoring 21 goals over his final three appearances, including a 10-goal performance in the Week 9 Game of the Week. His 5.8 goals-per-game average ranked second only to Bonnaud in 2019.
In his first game as a pro, Drew Swanson got the game-clinching block for Chicago at the end of regulation and hasn't looked back since. At 6'5" and with plenty of speed, Swanson has prototypical attributes for defending big receivers in the Midwest. He finished his rookie season tied for fourth in the league in blocks and was the only player other than Jeff Babbitt to register 20+ blocks and 20+ goals in 2019.
In his pro debut, Eric Taylor had five throwaways on 49 throws against a tough Dallas defense, and then went back out the next night against Austin and went 60-for-60 in a Flyers win. From there, Taylor went on to lead the league in completions-per-game, doing so with a 96.20 completion percentage. As a high volume passer, Taylor has shown a veteran's savvy on knowing when to strike deep as a cutter, already making him a lethal matchup to contain.