Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 12, 2016

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 15 of 55

16 SEPT. 12, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY MATT JONES D efensive lineman Isaac Rochell said he got the "classic captain talk" from head coach Brian Kelly. It was a conversation that moved hulking left tackle Mike McGlinchey to tears, he said. The news came as a surprise to outside linebacker James Onwualu, a team-first player who prefers to fo- cus on the task at hand and not think about such possibilities. Wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr. said he called his parents, including his father who used his favorite phrase, telling his son to "lead them boys." Notre Dame's four 2016 captains reacted in different ways to the news that they will lead the Irish this sea- son, though all four of them spoke about what an honor it is. "It's the greatest honor. I can't think of a higher honor that I've received in my life," Rochell said. "To know that he sees me that way is huge, too. I don't know what else to say." The four seniors replace 2015 cap- tains Sheldon Day, Matthias Farley, Nick Martin, Joe Schmidt and Jaylon Smith, and are tasked with being the vocal members on a team searching for leadership. "They have the experience of un- derstanding what it takes on a day-to- day basis to bring others along with them in the intense spotlight that is Notre Dame," Kelly said. "As we enter the season, things start to shift and focus on playing games and what goes on with that. These guys have been in the battles, have maneuvered through them, have got great experi- ence and are great young men. "They have great character, and I trust them to be great representatives of Notre Dame both on and off the field." Kelly tabbed his captains one day after two separate incidents resulted in the arrests of six Notre Dame foot- ball players. Senior safety Max Red- field was dismissed from the team, and senior cornerback Devin Butler was indefinitely suspended, while sophomore running back Dexter Wil- liams, sophomore linebacker Te'von Coney, freshman wide receiver Kevin Stepherson and sophomore corner- back Ashton White are with the team and practicing while awaiting any punishment from the university. "As a head coach, he's handled this as well as he possibly can," Rochell said. "We're all disappointed, but we've got to all keep moving forward and trust the administration and trust Coach Kelly and do as we're asked." "What happened was disappoint- ing for our football team, but at the same time Coach Kelly's handling that with the rest of our staff — we as a football program have all of our trust in him," McGlinchey said. "It's our job to right the ship now. It's the players' job to continue what we need to do here and be the men that we need to be here. "It was a tough situation and we're going to move past it. All eyes are on Texas now. And that's all we can do … put our heads down and work and right the ship as the four captains here." The captains were informed on Aug. 21 and Kelly told the team af- ter practice on Aug. 24. In a video released by Notre Dame, the captains spoke briefly to the team about what the distinction means to each of them, while making sure they're available for guidance should any problems arise. McGlinchey, a 6-7½, 310-pound left tackle, was moved to tears after realizing his goal and dream of being a team captain at Notre Dame. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA THE BIG FOUR Brian Kelly named seniors Torii Hunter Jr., Mike McGlinchey, James Onwualu and Isaac Rochell team captains for 2016

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Sept. 12, 2016