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Football

Donning the ‘C’

| Wednesday, August 27, 2014

There aren’t a lot of letters on a Notre Dame football jersey — no player names, just “ND.”

Four players now get to add a “C.” Graduate student safety Austin Collinsworth, junior defensive lineman Sheldon Day, senior center Nick Martin and senior running back Cam McDaniel were named captains for the upcoming football season.

Irish junior defensive end Sheldon Day listens to a reporter during Notre Dame’s media day on Aug. 19. Day was named as one of four Irish captains by coach Brian Kelly.Keri O'Mara | The Observer

Irish junior defensive end Sheldon Day listens to a reporter during Notre Dame’s media day on Aug. 19. Day was named as one of four Irish captains by coach Brian Kelly.

“It’s a great honor to be able to wear the ‘C’ on Saturdays and be recognized by your teammates and your coach,” Collinsworth said.

Collinsworth recorded a career-high 43 tackles and three interceptions last season as a senior, his first opportunity as a starter. He saw action in every game of his freshman and sophomore seasons but missed his entire junior season with a shoulder injury.

“It’s a young group, but also it’s a new defense, so I have to be on point at all times and make sure everyone’s in line because it’s new to everybody,” Collinsworth said.

Martin’s older brother and former offensive tackle Zack Martin served as a captain in 2012 and 2013. The Martins are the second pair of brothers to captain the Irish, joining Bob Golic (1978) and Mike Golic Sr. (1984).

“[Zack] knew,” Nick Martin said. “He texted me, and then I called him once I was done with everything, watching film and whatnot. … It was a good phone call. It was special.”

Zack Martin used the moment to give his younger brother some advice.

“[He told me] do your thing,” Nick Martin said. “You’ve got to be consistent, know when to step up and lead, know when to just lead by example. And he was just proud of me. You could just hear it in his voice.”

Martin started 11 games last season in the middle of an offensive line that allowed eight sacks, second fewest in the FBS.

His fellow senior, McDaniel, was the leading Irish rusher in 2013. He rushed for 705 yards and two touchdowns on 152 carries.

McDaniel discussed the qualities that led to his selection as a captain.

“Having the respect of your teammates and being consistent, being accountable,” McDaniel said. “I like to think of myself as all those things, and I want to portray that each and every day in the things I do on the field, but off the field as well, and I want my teammates to know that I’m the type of guy that is going to do it the right way.”

Irish senior running back Cam McDaniel rushes downfield during Notre Dame’s 45-10 victory over Air Force on Oct. 26.Michael Kramm | The Observer

Irish senior running back Cam McDaniel rushes downfield during Notre Dame’s 45-10 victory over Air Force on Oct. 26.

McDaniel said he wouldn’t shy away from opportunities to speak up to the team, even in difficult situations.

“That’s something that comes naturally for me because I don’t accept to lose,” McDaniel said. “When I have the opportunity to take ownership of a situation, I like to think that I’m contagious sometimes. I want my work ethic to be contagious, my actions to be contagious. But if it’s not, you’ve got to be vocal about it sometimes.”

Day ascended to the captaincy quickly, making enough of a statement in his freshman and sophomore seasons to be named a captain as a junior.

Day made eight starts last season despite nursing ankle injuries and recorded a career-high seven tackles in the last home game of the season against BYU. In 2012, his freshman season, he played in all 13 games and made 23 tackles.

“I’m always trying to learn new things, trying to learn the big scope of things, so I know the entire defense instead of just my individual position,” Day said. “It’s about being committed and showing, no matter what your situation is, you have to help out.”

 

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