As Culver Academy comes to a close expect Coach Kelly to be naming Team 131 Captain’s. The number of Captain’s for the 2019 season was expected to be lower. After Coach Kelly’s opening press conference on Friday August 2nd, that number is anticipated to be about five or six. The question that was asked was as follows, “Brian, following up on the leadership and the captains, I know in the spring you said you didn’t anticipate there being five or six per se like there were two years ago, but there does appear to be a lot of leadership, especially in the senior class.” Coach Kelly responded, “I stand corrected.”
The follow up was:”It will be more than you anticipated in the spring?” Coach Kelly said, “Yes, yes. It’s turned out that way because sometimes you don’t know how the summer goes, and what has happened really is our — you know, our accountability teams or our SWAT teams kind of really begin to take on an accountability role, and we put them in that position to really evaluate what kind of leader you are. If we notice that you have strong skills, we’re not going to push you to the side.”
“So what’s happened is it’s really strengthened our hand when it comes to true leaders. As I said, the development of this team has now changed course, and there is much more depth in that leadership category, and you’ll see more than just a few. “
Shake Down The Thunder Sports Captain Selection
Ian Book-Last year Book took off from the moment he stepped on the field as a starter. Stepping up and being the stand out leader on the team. Book wanted as much from himself as he wanted from the rest of his team. Book backed up is leadership with an amazing 70.4 passing percentage (197-280), including 19 passing touchdowns. That ranked him 6th in the country and 8th in passing accuracy. Book did not start the first three games (started against Wake Forest) and one game out for an injury. He rushed for 4 touchdowns and rushed 78 times for 250 yards. Book will surely be tapped as a Captain of the team. His eagerness to win and love of Notre Dame football will propel this team forward in 2019.
Alohi Gilman is the epitome of the heart and soul that Notre Dame football player is expected to have. His Junior year, Gilman stepped up his game. The one game that stands out is the USC game in which he gives a passionate speech at half to motivate his teammates to crawl out of the deficit they were in. Alohi will probably be one of the Captains of Team 131. They are going to need his spirit and his energy if the defense is to improve even after last year’s performance.
Jalen Elliott-Elliott had a monster junior season. He started in all 12 games, 63 tackles and 6 pass break-ups. His 4 interceptions made him one out of 35 players that had 4 our more picks.
The above picture says it all. Make the offense pay for mistakes they make on the field. Though this was during the Blue and Gold game, the offense is glad that Jalen Elliott is on their team. Jalen is one of those guys who has football sense. He can see what is going to happen before it does. Like Alohi, the Irish are going to need him to elevate his though it’s at a high level already.
Te’Von Coney and Drue Tranquill leave a major void for Asmar Bilal to fill. Bilal had a great Senior campaign. Bilal is going to have to the anchor in this key position. Coney and Tranquill both were a pain for offensive coordinators to plan against. Bilal will have to step up and be the leader that Tranquill was in the defensive huddle.
The position at Wide Receiver left open by Miles Boykin is going to need a tandem to fill is departure. The first part of that tandem is fifth year Grad student Chris Finke. One of his biggest plays was in the opening game against Michigan. With 7:09 remaining in the first quarter, Finke goes up and over a Michigan defender to score the second touchdown of the game. Finke had 47 catches for 547 yards and two touchdowns. Finke brings back his leadership and tenacity that this team needs to feed off of.
The second part of the tandem at Wide Receiver is Chase Claypool. Claypool placed second on the team with 631 receiving yards on 48 receptions and four TDs. Chase has a strong work ethic and tenacity to match Finke. Claypool is ready to take the number one spot on the team stat chart as far as Wide Receiver’s are concerned. Book is going to look to him as the guy who steps out at the WR position.
There You Have It
There are only so many players you can pick to be Captain. To be a Captain is a honor and a privilege. Each one of these young men embodies what it takes to be Captain. Now it will be up to the players and ultimately the coaching staff. Shake Down The Thunder Sports would like to know who your choice of Captain’s are. Please share your thoughts with us. Remember you want guys who are going to dominate on and off the field.
We will be back at training camp on Saturday back at Notre Dame.
Go Irish! ☘🏈⚡