ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Joe Kerridge started his career as a walk-on at Michigan. Now a fifth-year senior, his peers selected him a captain of the football team for the 2015 season.
Being named a team captain is an honor regardless of the path taken to get there. For Kerridge, that path had its fair share of hills and valleys to get past along the way.
“It’s been a climb for me over these years,” Kerridge said. “Starting out as a walk-on, I tore my ACL in high school and came in and had to fight through that. Then I was awarded a scholarship. Looking at that two years ago to that day when I earned that scholarship and now to be named captain, it’s truly something special.”
“He came in and we took a vote as a team and all the team voted, except for the freshman, which we’ve always done,” Kerridge said. “It took a couple freshman to count to votes afterwards and we had a couple minutes together as a team joking around. Then Coach Harbaugh came in and announced the two captains, offense first and then defense, he gave us a chance to speak on behalf of the team and for the team. Just talked about what it means and the future of this year to come.
“It was really a speechless moment and it’s something I’ll definitely remember forever. But it won’t stop now, we’ve got a lot of stuff to do and, at the end of the day, it’s about the team.”
Working towards a scholarship as a walk-on and being named captain by your team are the highest forms of flattery and examples of hard work that both coaches and players can hand out.
Kerridge was fortunate enough to be able to achieve both, something that doesn’t happen very often. He has big shoes to fill with the likes of Jordan Kovacs and Eric Mayes going from former walk-on to captain roles.
But what is more special for Kerridge? Can both achievements possibly be compared at all?
“That’s a tough one,” Kerridge said. “Over the years, fighting for that scholarship was something else but then it’s a different kind of feeling because you know that the scholarship is coming from the coaches efforts and what they see on the field. When you have the trust of all the players, as a captain, that’s something totally different. It’s special in its own way.”