NOTRE DAME — The Irish will be led by three seniors and a junior this year.
Notre Dame announced its captains for the 2014 football season — senior safety Austin Collinsworth, senior center Nick Martin, senior running back Cam McDaniel and junior defensive lineman Sheldon Day, according to a Tweet from head coach Brian Kelly on Tuesday evening, Aug. 26.
Kelly spoke about the solid team leadership earlier Tuesday, before he announced captains.
“I want to be very careful that we select the right people and make sure that our voice is being herd across the group,” he said. “Again, this is a limited democracy and our players know that, but I want to make sure that we're representing everybody across the board with our football players.”
Notre Dame doesn’t have a wealth of seniors at its disposal, which is why names like sophomore Jaylon Smith were tossed into the mix for consideration.
“I have a small senior class. I have 17 redshirt juniors, the largest class that we have ever had here in terms of numbers,” Kelly said. “So we have a lot of underclassmen that can be leaders that are sophomores. We have a lot of leaders out there.”
Kelly praised McDaniel on Media Day Aug. 19, calling the senior the team’s “best overall running back.” Day has emerged as a clear leader on an otherwise young defensive front. Collinsworth is the only returning starter on in the defensive backfield. Kelly has spoken highly of Martin throughout the fall, saying Martin has the same leadership qualities as his older brother Nick Martin, a two-time Irish captain before graduating in May.
The Irish kick off the 2014 season in a home opener against Rice, which will start at 3:42 p.m. Saturday.