The league's worst kept secret is now official.
Jack Elliott is one of 17 players nominated for AT&T Rookie of the Year, and he holds one of the best, if not the best, case out of the bunch.
Selected in the fourth round at 77th overall in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, Elliott was not expected to be a repeat contributor for the team. Players picked that late in the draft are usually projects who spend time developing their game before becoming everyday players. And that's how Elliott's season looked at the beginning.
Elliott played a match for Bethlehem Steel FC, where he notched an assist in his first professional assist. He then spent two games in the game day 18 for the Union, before being thrusted into his MLS debut at halftime in the Union's fourth game of the season, after Richie Marquez was forced to leave the match.
He performed well, but was out of the starting lineup the next match. Against New York City FC, Elliott earned his first start of his career. He hasn't left the starting XI since.
Since his start, the Union rolled off the longest winning streak in team history, a six-game and four-game unbeaten streak, the team's longest shutout streak, and set the record for most home wins in a season. He's been a part of a backline which has allowed the second fewest road goals in team history, and helped Andre Blake record his lowest goals against average in his career.
In terms of individual production, Elliott is near the top of nearly every Union defensive stat, and is one of the best of all MLS defenders in blocks and clearances. He also has been a workhorse on the field, logging the third-most minutes played on the Union.
Jack Elliott's play has certainly placed him in the running for Rookie of the Year, and now it's official. Now it's time for him to become the first defender since Austin Berry in 2012 to win the award.
To see the full list of nominees for Rookie of the Year, click here.