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Zack Martin, Bennett Jackson and TJ Jones named captains

Aug 22, 2013, 3:28 PM EDT


Brian Kelly announced the team’s captains today during his media day press conference, naming left tackle Zack Martin, cornerback Bennett Jackson and wide receiver TJ Jones the three official leaders of the team.

Martin returns as captain, only the 18th player in school history to do so. It’s a well earned honor for Martin, who Kelly raved about from a leadership perspective this summer, taking charge of the offensive line and building camaraderie this summer with the five incoming freshman.

Joining Martin on the offensive side of the ball is Jones. Another four year starter, Jones has shifted inside and out at wide receiver, playing his best football last season making 50 catches for 649 yards and four touchdowns. Jones will be adding punt return duties to his responsibilities as well, and has earned a leadership role on this team by leading the group both on and off the field.

Meanwhile, Jackson’s captaincy might be the one wildcard of the group. The returning starter at cornerback started his career on the offensive side of the ball before transitioning to cornerback and starting last season. Jackson played all of ’12 with a shoulder that needed surgery, gutting out an impressive season where he made 65 tackles, forced one fumble and intercepted four passes.

In Kelly’s four seasons at Notre Dame he’s had a different number of captains each year. In his debut season he named game captains, rotating leadership responsibilities each week. In ’11, he named Michael Floyd and Harrison Smith captains, with Floyd stripped of his captaincy after a DUI arrest the week before spring practice. The ’12 team had four captains, Manti Te’o, Tyler Eifert, Kapron Lewis-Moore and Martin.



  1. yaketyyacc - Aug 22, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    great choices. now that we have captains, gotten through the preseason practices, now comes the first week of game preparation.
    all the discussion pro and con now welds into solid unwavering support. not blind, but unwavering.
    Good Luck Irish!


  2. onward2victory - Aug 22, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Can’t really argue those choices, but why not Reesus??

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      Gotta be able to outrun sbpd to make captain. Martin can, but not tr. ahh, such is life…

  3. mediocrebob - Aug 22, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Ha Reesus. I like it.

  4. 25kgold - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    It would be a pretty odd situation if Tommy was to be named one of the captains and NOT have the kid of season we hope he’ll have–thus, him ending up on the sidelines holding a clipboard. A captain who doesn’t play??? I think it was the right choice to not make him a captain.

  5. 25kgold - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    **Kind of season -_-

  6. irish4006 - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    I feel like there was room for one more – Louis Nix III.

    • domerboyirish - Aug 23, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      It’s not often that you can use the words ‘there was room’ and ‘Louis Nix’ in the same sentence.

  7. irishpuma - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:18 AM

    25k agree with your theory completely. To all of you Rees lovers/apologists and Keith lol
    This does not bode well for all of your various ideas and defenses. At best it has to give u pause that BK is far from giving Rees any kind of endorsement. Maybe we can have an end to this “is Tommy’s team” ” he gives us senior leadership and the team wants him.”

    He was not chosen in the top 3 leaders by his coach,and I think there is team input there, nor by his peers. To me that is telling. Now if u want to be extreme like 25k and me it does signal he is on a game by game plan and they don’t know if he is capable of leading the team for the whole year or even being on the field. It is very counter productive to have a captain that is not playing. What other reasons would keep him out of a captaincy? Lets hear some counter points!

    I am a little more optimistic now as I believe we don’t have all our eggs in the Rees basket! And to my critics you should be happy as well because your guy has the job and every opportunity to succeed. Which I really hope he does! This offseason has seemed to linger and I don’t want our season over by week 4.

    • bernhtp - Aug 23, 2013 at 7:57 AM

      Possible explanations:

      1. Rees is in an automatic position of leadership as senior starting QB and thus formal captain designation is unnecessary – can be used for someone else.
      2. Rees is still on double-secret probation from his arrest last year.
      3. Z Martin was automatic and TJ Jones really deserved it. Rees just got beat out.
      4. Hendrix is looking good in camp and there might be a quicker hook than people expect.

      • irish4006 - Aug 23, 2013 at 6:51 PM

        Z Martin was not automatic, bern. He was a captain last year, I don’t think anyone would mind if he was not a captain this year.

        • bernhtp - Aug 23, 2013 at 10:52 PM

          I don’t know anyone that didn’t think that ZMartin wouldn’t be a captain. He was a strong leader/captain last year and even stronger this year. Kelly heaps effusive praise about the time and effort Zack puts in to make the o-line better and more cohesive.

    • goirishgo - Aug 23, 2013 at 9:41 AM

      I’m not a “Rees lover/apologist” but it’s obvious he’s the best option at QB. Also, BK has said he’d have no problem using multiple QBs if it helps to win games. In fact, he’s done it through much of his coaching career. So, while Rees is the clear #1 choice at no point has he been the exclusive choice. Not sure why you ever thought that was the case.

      As far as captaincy goes, I just haven’t seen great leadership qualities from Rees in the past. He’s not very vocal or demonstrative, his body language hasn’t been great, and his results have been inconsistent. As Bern points out, there are probably just better leaders on the squad. None of which precludes Rees from succeeding TY.

      If we get to a point where Rees is not the starting QB I won’t be happy. Not because I’m invested in him but because ND will be losing games. And winning or losing is really the only thing that matters to me.

      That said, go Tommy Rees and go Irish!

    • runners00 - Aug 23, 2013 at 11:28 AM

      What the hell are you talking about? In the senior class — fourth year seniors — Rees is one of about 23 seniors. There are six other graduate students who play football, including Zack Martin. That 3 athletes were selected as captain hardly is indicative of his status as the starting quarterback. Simply, with Golson’s suspension and Kiel’s departure, Rees is the best option. Is he Joe Montana? No. But he can be effective. And, incidentally, what message would it send if Kelly and the team made Rees a captain? This is the same Rees who had an arrest for fleeing a party w/ underage drinking and the like. It’s the same one who lost the quarterback job to a true freshman last year.

      Was Mike Floyd an ineffective wide receiver? He wasn’t captain his senior season. I see Rees in a similar way. Captains aren’t perfect — few people are — but I think Kelly sees Rees as a quarterback, not as a captain of the football program.

      • irishpuma - Aug 24, 2013 at 2:17 AM

        what the hell are you talking about? There are a total of 8 but really 7 seniors that are in the starting lineup that have played significant minutes and 3 of those 7 are captains. Not many situations are you going to have a captain that is not a starter. That is a much smaller sample size then you portray. You can disagree with my point that I think it is very telling but don’t call me crazy when he did not have the leadership ability to beat out 4 guys and he is the starting QB1.

        Come on Michael Floyd are you kidding me great comparison….all world athlete, speed, results, always a stud and never ineffective. He had dui and numerous off field issues and barely made it back on the team to play. He was never going to be a captain. I am not linking being a captain to having a skill set or being a great player. I am linking it to being a veteran leader, trusted, and has the respect of the team. These are all the qualities everyone is always trying to sell me on Rees due to his lack of athletic ability. If you tell me he is all we got I get that argument. But the fact that A 4th year QB naturally should fit the mold of leader to manage and guide the team and really be its compass. So the fact that he is not a captain seems like an indicator of something….

  8. 25kgold - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:21 AM

    I can’t believe that God put us on this earth to be ordinary. -Lou Holtz

  9. irishpuma - Aug 23, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Good points! Go Irish

  10. runners00 - Aug 23, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    The captains have their work cut out for them.

    I know we have some great athletes coming into the program or rising through the program — Carlisle, Bryant, Smith, Redfield, Zaire, Shumate and Brown.

    Think about who left us. On offense, we lost Wood, Riddick, Eifert, Golson, Cave. On defense, we lost T’eo, Spond, Kap, Slaughter (and McCarthy), Motta. That’s a lot of guys to replace.

    Kelly has the ability to motivate people. He did it all last year. Heck, he’s done it from day one. We have a lot of new guys this year. Many are athletic. I’m excited to see Russell at cornerback and the big kids Day and Tuitt up front. We’re going to win with these athletic and sizeable players. But with so many new guys, especially on offense, the wins will require these captains and this coach to perform their best — all the time.

  11. 25kgold - Aug 23, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    Brian Kelly spoke to Golson recently, and he said that Golson is on track to be back on the team next fall!!!! ^_^

    “I talked to him (Wednesday),” Kelly said. “He’s been working out in Chicago. His plan right now is to spend some time with George Whitfield. George is an established quarterback coach out in San Diego. He’s planning on spending probably two months out there in San Diego to really work.

    “I think that’s during most of the inclement weather time, and then he’ll be back in the Midwest probably around Thanksgiving and then settle back here in Notre Dame around the holidays.”

    • irishpuma - Aug 24, 2013 at 2:04 AM

      I did not see this article but is there any talk of what Golson is doing academically? He did not get shown the door because he can’t play QB. He is not under the dome because he could not keep up academically. I would much rather hear about his two months of intensive studying, tutoring etc and his plan to stay compliant and eligible going forward rather than that he is with a QB coach in SoCal. Makes no sense to me?????????????????

      • irishpuma - Aug 24, 2013 at 2:18 AM

        Or at least some ethics training.

      • ibleedirish - Aug 24, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        pretty sure we can leave the academics side of things to people who know much more about it than we do.

        ethics training…you gotta be fuggin kidding me

      • ibleedirish - Aug 24, 2013 at 12:34 PM

        lets follow that ethics training up with some racial sensitivity training, a group cry, and some hand holding.

        My god. He fuc**d up. He’ll either learn his lesson or he won’t. End of story.

  12. ajw21 - Aug 23, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    Martin was automatic because he was a captain last year. What does it say to your players if he isnt a captain? Your basically telling the guy you were a leader last year but not this year if you do that. Would make no sense. BK could care less what we want, he will do what is right for the players & the team.
    Go Irish!

  13. irishpuma - Aug 25, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    I bleed i appreciate your support of a university you never attended but time for a lesson. Had you the opportunity to attnd ND you would know more about academics and there are plenty on this board who can comment on academics. More importantly ethics is not a joke at ND. All students live by and sign an honor code which is a moral code or ethics document. EG allegedly cheated which is an expulsion level offence. So how is that not appropriate? If you have a problem with this go cheer for USC, Bama, Miami etc.

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