Being a team captain on the OU Football Team is one of the greatest honors on the Sooner squad. Earning a captainship can give a player a lifetime of awards and prestige, but it also comes with a great deal of responsibility. However, it is a responsibility that players gladly accept because they are named captain based on a vote of their football team.
For seniors J.D. Runnels, Davin Joseph, Dusty Dvoracek and Clint Ingram, their nomination as captain has their final year at Oklahoma off to great start. And for a homeboy like Runnels, the honor culminates a lifelong dream.
"I can not say how much of an honor this is," said Runnels immediately after learning that was named team captain. "This is the best gift that I have ever been given by the best people — my teammates. Then the fact this coaching staff is so behind me make it hard to conceive right now that I have been named captain. I am so happy right now that I can be in this position and hopefully lead this team the way the senior class did last year."
Out of the four captains Runnels, is the only one from Oklahoma, playing his high school football at Midwest City Carl Albert.
"Yeah, I guess that is true – being the only one of the four guys from Oklahoma," said Runnels. "I am going to have to represent that well and I am going to have to represent this program and university to the best of my ability. This means so much to me that I am humbled so much by this honor."
Runnels has always been one of the most popular and dedicated Sooners, and he knows now he must step up and be a great leader on this squad.
"I guess I can lead by example," said Runnels. "I can be a vocal leader, but the majority of this stuff is just going out and showing them what to do – showing them the right way and showing them the correct path to choice. Hopefully, I can just go out there and be a positive leader for our team. There is not a better group of guys in the world that the three guys I share this title with. They are three of the finest individuals that I know and have had the privilege to play with. I know, as a group, we can do what it takes to lead this team in the proper direction."
For Dvoracek, it is a the closure of the circle which took him from being a starter and captain, to being suspended, to being reinstated back on the football team, to coming back from bicep surgery, to being cleared to play and now to being named captain once again.
"It is just awesome because that is the biggest compliment that your teammates can pay you by voting you captain," said Dvoracek upon learning the news. "They know what I have gone through and how much I have changed, how I am going to make sure that what happened last year is not going to happen this year. It is a dream come true to go down the road that I went and come back and have it go full circle."
Dvoracek is not going to take his role as captain lightly.
"In a way, I think they (teammates) kind of screwed themselves because now I am going to be on their butt every day," said Dvoracek. "I am not going to put up with mistakes and I am going to be on their butt quite a bit. I mean, if they get mad about that it is their fault for voting me captain. We are not going to accept failure and we are not going to accept guys going less than 100 percent. I am going to stay on their butt and keep them fired up, keep them going and try to make us the best defense that I can."
Dvoracek also learned the good news that he will play in the season opener against TCU.
"I can't wait. This is going to be so awesome," said Dvoracek. "I have been working my butt off in the off-season and I have been waiting a whole year to put the pads back on. I just want to get out their on Saturday and do my best. I can't wait. TCU is going to get my best. I wore a brace on my arm the first day that they let me hit and it felt great. I did all my stuff and I felt 100 percent. I felt as good as I ever have, if not better. I can't wait."
It is no surprise that Joseph was named team captain as well. Ever since he was named a starter he has been willing to take a leadership role with his teammates. Plus, his smile certainly indicates how much he loves playing for the University of Oklahoma.
"I love playing football here for this team," said Joseph. "I just try to work hard every day, and I guess through that I have earned the respect from the guys and their appreciation for me. I have earned their respect and they voted me captain. This is one of those things that I have kind of dreamed of. My dad and mom have always told me this was one of those things that I should strive to be. They wanted me to be a leader, and now I have a chance to be a leader for this team I appreciate that."
OU recruits nationally and Joseph is always involved in recruiting weekends. Now he can be even more front-and-center because coming from Hallandale, Fla. he be a perfect example of leaving home to become a success at the University of Oklahoma.
"It is great playing out here. OU is one of those schools that you know how great it is if you have been here," said Joseph. "I know players will come here and compare and contrast OU to other schools, but I still think my experience here has been the greatest. I can prove to all those recruits a little away form home that OU can work out for them."
Joseph also plans to lead by example.
"I am just going to continue like I have always led by example," said Joseph. "I am going to work hard every day and be there for my teammates every day. I am going to play at a high caliber on the field and that is the only way that I know how to lead. I will continue to show how to be a good player and how to be a good teammate and a good friend to these guys."
Ingram has come out of relative obscurity to become one of the better players on defense and now team captain.
"This is something that I have been dreaming about since I was in third grade," said Ingram. "I am so happy. When I was young I just wanted to play football at a D-1 school. I really didn't have a school in mind. Then when I got into high school my goal was to be good enough to play at a school like this. I got here and my goal was to become a player that the other guys could look up to, and to be a teammate that if they needed something on the field or off the field, whether they had personal problems or field problems, I could be somebody they come to. I just wanted to be their dude. I guess I have reached all those goals."
Ingram has always been a good football player, but it was his role last year against Texas that showed for the first team what kind of leader he could be. However, in the spring and during training camp his stock too a giant leap forward among his teammates, media and fans alike.
"My teammates know that every time that I go out, whether it is a workout or just a cross-field sprint, that I always go out and set an example of how to work. My work ethic and how I apply myself in what I do is always at 100 percent. I never let down and I never give up. I am always talking to young guys and telling them not to give up. When they are down in the locker room I always have a story to tell them to fire them up. I tell them that I have played three years here and they need to be patient like I was, play hard, do what you can and things will work out for you."
Every football teams needs great leadership. In Runnels, Joseph, Dvorack and Ingram the Sooners have four guys that know what it takes to play championship football and are not afraid to lead the way.
Sooner captains talk about their latest honor
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