A little over a week ago, the Ole Miss football team voted for permanent team captains for the 2009 season.
Sunday night, during what Coach Houston Nutt calls "Dedication Night," this year's captains were named, seven of them in all.
"We normally have four, but the voting was so close and everyone of the seven are deserving and worthy," said Nutt. "We will just rotate them and have four for each game.
"The players did a fantastic job of picking the right guys. These seven have been the leaders, vocally and by example, on and off the field, since last season ended and they all should be captains. They have earned the honor.
"We actually have several more who have met all the criteria for being a captain, and they got votes too, but these seven got the most," Nutt said. "I really wish we could have had all the seniors - they have been that good so far, but you have cut it off somewhere."
The captains are all seniors, obviously, and are FS Kendrick Lewis, CB Marshay Green, OLB Patrick Trahan and DE Marcus Tillman on defense and WR Dexter McCluster, C Daverin Geralds and RT John Jerry on offense.
As soon as SS Jamarca Sanford gave up leadership of the Rebel secondary after the Cotton Bowl, Lewis and Green emerged immediately as the players who would drive the defensive backs to a higher plateau.
And it didn't stop with directing the secondary with them. Both are not only the leaders of the secondary, they take a strong leadership role with the defense, the special teams and the whole team.
Tillman is the quiet leader of the team. You rarely hear a peep out of him, but he has gained the respect of his teammates by working as hard, or harder, than any player on the squad. Whatever he is asked to do, he does his best. A coach's dream. Till also was awarded the coveted honor of being named the winner of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award for 2009, another strong indication of his lofty standing within the team structure.
Trahan's selection was not surprising, but it's somewhat rare for a junior college player to garner the team's admiration as quickly as he has. Patrick's sense of humor and work ethic have made him one of the most revered players on the squad.
After the Cotton Bowl, All-American Peria Jerry and Sanford sat "little brother" John Jerry down for a heart-to-heart talk. They told him the Rebels were his team now and for him to take charge. John has done that and more.
He personally dedicated himself to being in the top shape of his career and losing down to 330 pounds. His example helped propel others on the team with weight issues to follow suit.
John's personality has blossomed in the last year and when he speaks, everything gets silent and everyone listens.
Geralds takes his responsibilities as a senior as seriously as anyone on the squad. He's always there for the younger players and has been Jerry's wing man in leading the offensive line. He's also set the right example of what a student-athlete is supposed to be, excelling on the field and in the classroom.
Being a captain is not a popularity contest, but that would be Dexter if it was. A leader by example and an infectious personality have rocketed him to the top of the ladder of the team's hierarchy. The captain list, frankly, would not be complete without Dex.
"All seven of them understand the responsibilities of being a captain and all of them will be excellent captains," Nutt closed.
Football Captains Named
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