Brian Kelly made some news in his press conference today by announcing the three seniors who will be wearing the "C" on their jersey this season:
Offensive tackle Zack Martin is just the 18th player in program history to be named captain for multiple seasons. The Indianapolis native has been outstanding the last three seasons and is a likely early round pick in next year's NFL draft. He anchors an offensive line that is likely this team's biggest offensive strength and is a favourite of our very own Larz.
Wide receiver T.J. Jones joins Martin as captains on the offensive side of the ball. The steady receiver out of Georgia caught 50 passes last season for 649 yards and four touchdowns. Without Tyler Eifert, he will likely need to emerge as the go-to guy for this offense's passing attack. Kelly also cited his desire to make the punt return a weapon as a sign of leadership as well.
Finally, the lone defensive captain for this season is cornerback Bennett Jackson. Jackson ranked third on the team last season in tackles (65) and second behind only Manti Te'o in interceptions (4).
As always, a couple of players stand out as exclusions to this list. First, many people have mentioned Tommy Rees as a surprise, but I think it was to be expected. Martin and Jones seemed like obvious choices, and I'm not sure why you would need a third offensive captain, especially someone who does not need any more pressure thrown on him at this point.
I'm a little more surprised that Dan Fox was not named a captain, especially seeing as how there is only one other defensive captain. He seemed like a shoe-in to me as a constant in the middle of that defense, but perhaps filling Manti's shoes as a linebacker is enough without having to fill in as a captain as well.
Other possibilities as seniors were Louis Nix, Prince Shembo, and Carlo Calabrese defensively and Chris Watt offensively, but they decided to stick with three after having 4, 1, and game-to-game captains the last three seasons under Kelly.
Congrats to the new captains for the 2013 Fighting Irish!