For all the Irish fans claiming “who are Notre Dame’s leaders?!”, well here ya go. On Wednesday head coach Brian Kelly named his captains in the form of defensive lineman Isaac Rochell, outside linebacker James Onwualu, left tackle Mike McGlinchey and wide receiever Torii Hunter Jr. It’s pretty clear Kelly wanted two defensive captains and two offensive captains.
All are great choices and there’s not much of a surprise for at least three of the four. Rochell, Onwualu and McGlinchey all seemed like locks to be a captain. Rochell and Onwualu are taking over as the leaders of the defense. DeShone Kizer already has said that McGlinchey is the leader of the offense.
The only one that may cause just a slight surprise is Hunter. That’s no knock on Hunter at all. He’s very deserving, but there were a few others that came to mind before Hunter. Again though, Kelly didn’t make a mistake by naming him a captain. He’s a solid choice.
One could probably make the case that DeShone Kizer or Malik Zaire should have been named a captain. In any other circumstance they would be, but since Kelly hasn’t really made a decision on who is the starter he probably didn’t want to give a C to either one. If the situation was where it was just Kizer or just Zaire, it would have been a guarantee that one of them would have been a captain.
Quenton Nelson would have been a great choice as well. He’s one of the best players not only on the Irish offense, but in the country. But Kelly probably didn’t want his two offensive captains on the offensive line. He will be a pretty good candidate to be a captain next season.
Another guy who would have made a great captain, and will be a cinch to be one next season, is Drue Tranquill. Everything you hear about him is that he’s a natural leader. Now he just needs to stay on the field for a whole year and be the leader the Irish need him to be in the secondary.
The group of Rochell, Onwualu, McGlinchey and Hunter is a solid group of captains. On top of that there are plenty of other leaders on the roster as well. Irish fans should feel that their team is in good hands.