ANNAPOLIS, Md.-Navy head football coach Paul Johnson announced Saturday that Josh Smith (Attica, Ind.) and Aaron Polanco (Wimberley, Texas) have been elected captains for the 2004 season by their teammates.
"It's a great honor for Josh and Aaron to be elected team captain by their teammates and I know it's a role they won't take likely," said Johnson. "They have big shoes to fill in replacing Craig Candeto and Eddie Carthan, but I feel like both of these young men will do an excellent job in representing our team on and off the field."
Smith, a 2004 All-American candidate, has led the Midshipmen in tackles each of the last two seasons. In 2003, Smith recorded 108 tackles, five tackles for a loss, picked off four passes and recovered two fumbles despite missing three games due to injury as he helped lead Navy to an 8-5 season, victories over Air Force and Army to win the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy and a berth in the Houston Bowl.
Smith had one of his best games at Navy in the Houston Bowl against Texas Tech when he recorded 13 tackles and intercepted a pass. Smith also had big games last year against VMI (11 tackles, tackle for a loss and a fumble recovery), TCU (12 tackles and a pass broken up), Eastern Michigan (two interceptions), Rutgers (18 tackles and an interception), Tulane (11 tackles, tackle for a loss, forced fumble, fumble recovery), Notre Dame (12 tackles and a tackle for a loss) and Central Michigan (10 tackles, forced fumble, deflected pass).
Polanco will enter the fall as the starting quarterback after serving as the backup to Craig Candeto for the last two seasons. Last year, Polanco saw action in seven games, gaining 173 yards and one touchdown on the ground and completing eight of his 20 passes for 98 yards.
Any doubts about Polanco's abilities were quickly erased when he was a sophomore as he came off the bench against an undefeated Notre Dame squad and nearly led the Mids to the school's biggest upset in school history. Polanco took over for an injured Candeto after the first series and directed the Mids to a 23-15 lead late in the fourth quarter only to see Notre Dame rally for 15 points over the final 4:28 to defeat Navy, 30-23. Polanco, playing against the nation's top defense, rushed for 39 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 40 more yards.
Season tickets are currently on sale at the Navy box office in Ricketts Hall or by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY. Navy opens up the 2004 campaign Saturday, Sept. 4 against Duke in a 6 p.m. kickoff.