2024 Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List revealed

James Tallon of Duke
James Tallon of Duke
Tyson Neighbors of Kansas State
Tyson Neighbors of Kansas State
Brandon Neely of Florida
Brandon Neely of Florida

DALLAS (NCBWA) – Seventy-three players have been named to the initial Watch List for the 19th Annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I Baseball, the association announced Wednesday. The institution or conference sports information directors submitted nominees.

This year's watch list includes three 2023 Stopper of the Year finalists and 11 preseason NCBWA All-America selections. The first-teamers include Brandon Neely (Florida), Tyson Neighbors (Kansas State), Fran Oschell III (Duke) and James Tallon (Duke). Neely, a finalist last season, registered 13 saves for the Gators with 72 strikeouts and 22 walks in 55.1 innings pitched with a 3.58 ERA. K-State's Neighbors, also a finalist in 2023, boasted 11 saves, a 5-1 record, 85 strikeouts and a 1.85 ERA in 48.2 innings last season. Tallon collected finalist recognition with 12 saves, 54 strikeouts and 11 walks and a 1.64 ERA in just 33.0 innings for the Blue Devils in 2023. Blue Devil teammate Oschell III notched a 6-0 record with 66 strikeouts on just 18 walks and a 0.69 ERA in 39.1 innings tossed.

Additional preseason NCBWA All-Americans on this year's list include Ben Abeldt (TCU, third team), Austin Anderson (Oregon, second team), Micah Ashman (Utah, third team), Hudson Barrett (UC Santa Barbara, second team), Chris Lotito (Jacksonville, third team), Noah Manning (Troy, third team) and Joshua Romero (CSUN, second team).

The Southeastern Conference led the way with the most representatives with 12 players finding their names on the watch list. The Atlantic Coast Conference followed with 10, while the Big 12 and Big Ten each had six and the Pac-12 had five. 

Of the initial 73 members, 12 were featured on last year's midseason watch list. In total, 21 conferences are represented on this list, with at least two players coming from 16 different leagues.

Following is the complete 2024 NCBWA Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List:

  • Ben Abeldt, TCU, So.
  • Austin Anderson, Oregon, Sr.
  • Evan Aschenbeck, Texas A&M, Sr.
  • Micah Ashman, Utah, Jr.
  • Hudson Barrett, UC Santa Barbara, So.
  • Ethan Bates, Louisiana Tech, Sr.
  • Danny Beal, East Carolina, Sr.
  • Chris Beilenson, Duke, Gr.
  • Hayden Berg, Western Michigan, Sr.
  • Ryan Bilka, Wagner, So.
  • Radek Birkholz, Notre Dame, Jr.
  • Mason Burns, Western Kentucky, Sr.
  • Will Cannon, Auburn, Jr.
  • Nick Clayton, Clemson, Sr.
  • Aaron Combs, Tennessee, R-Jr.
  • Jake Cubbler, USC Upstate, R-Jr.
  • Liam Dabagian, Elon, Gr.
  • Chandler David, Sam Houston, Sr.
  • Alton Davis II, Alabama, So.
  • Brandon Decker, Oakland, Sr.
  • Josh Emanuels, Washington, R-Jr.
  • Garrett Ferguson, Missouri State, So.
  • Bennett Flynn, Notre Dame, Gr.
  • Reed Garris, Clemson, Jr.
  • Ben Gorski, Rutgers, Sr.
  • Chase Grillo, Washington State, R-Sr.
  • Gavin Guidry, LSU, So.
  • Blake Hammond, Santa Clara, Jr.
  • Nate Hardman, Notre Dame, Gr.
  • Cole Heath, Western Kentucky, R-Jr.
  • Carson Ozmer, Penn, Sr.
  • Leo Harris, UAB, Gr.
  • Sam Hart, Iowa, Jr.
  • Justin Honeycutt, UNC Asheville , Sr.
  • Johnny Hummel, Kentucky, Gr.
  • Ryan Kraft, Indiana, Jr.
  • Kyle Kramer, UCF, R-Sr.
  • Ethan Lanthier, , Kansas, Jr.
  • Carson Lore, Samford, Jr.
  • Chris Lotito, Jacksonville, r-Jr.
  • Carter Lovasz, William & Mary, Jr.
  • Josh Mallitz, Ole Miss, Jr.
  • Noah Manning, Troy, Sr.
  • Izaak Martinez, UC San Diego, R-Jr.
  • Justin Murray, Houston, Sr.
  • Brandon Neely, Florida, Jr.
  • Tyson Neighbors, Kansas State, Jr.
  • Fran Oschell III, Duke, Jr.
  • Dalton Pence, North Carolina, R-So.
  • Sam Portnoy, Rutgers, R-Jr.
  • Matt Poston, North Carolina, Sr.
  • Easton Rakers, Lindenwood, So.
  • Jackson Reid, Western Carolina, Gr.
  • Zane Robbins, Eastern Illinois, Gr.
  • Joshua Romero, CSUN, Sr.
  • Rashad Ruff, UCLA, Gr.
  • Caleb Rutledge, SFA, R-Jr.
  • Cam Schuelke, Mississippi State, Jr.
  • Tanner Smith, Presbyterian, Sr.
  • Nate Snead, Tennessee, So.
  • August Souza, Santa Clara, Sr.
  • Jared Spencer, Indiana State, Jr.
  • Eli Sundquist, Utah Valley, Sr.
  • Tommy Szczepanski, Michigan State, So.
  • James Tallon, Duke, So.
  • Eli Trop, Penn, Sr.
  • Chris Veach, South Carolina, Sr.
  • Najer Victor, UCF, Sr.
  • Zach Voelker, Iowa, R-Jr.
  • Nathan Ward, Grand Canyon, Sr.
  • Ryan White, Western Carolina, Gr.
  • Parker Whittle, Winthrop, Sr.
  • Gage Wood, Arkansas, So.

Texas hurler J. Brent Cox won the inaugural Stopper of the Year Award in 2005, with Don Czyz of Kansas claiming the honor in 2006 and Luke Prihoda of Sam Houston State winning it in 2007. Georgia's Joshua Fields topped the field in 2008, San Diego State's Addison Reed grabbed the honor in 2009 and Texas' Chance Ruffin earned the honor in 2010. The Longhorns' Corey Knebel won in 2011, with Southeastern Louisiana's Stefan Lopez picking up the honor in 2012. UCLA's David Berg was crowned the winner in 2013, Louisville's Nick Burdi took home the 2014 honor, and Berg became the award's first two-time winner in 2015. Miami (Fla.)' s Bryan Garcia was honored as the 2016 recipient, followed the Cardinal's Lincoln Henzman in 2017, Florida's Michael Byrne in 2018, UCLA's Holden Powell in 2019, Arkansas' Kevin Kopps in 2021 and Texas State's Tristan Stivors in 2022. Oral Roberts closer Cade Denton collected the honor in 2023.

The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the Dick Howser Trophy to the nation's top player and the Mike Martin National Coach of the Year to the nation's top coach. It also selects All-America Teams for all Divisions, a Division I Freshman All-American team, Division I, II and III Players of the Week and Division I, II and III Players of the Year.

Printable version with 2023 player statistics