Kelly names Collinsworth, Day, Martin and McDaniel captains

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Brian Kelly announced his captains for the 2014 season, naming safety Austin Collinsworth, defensive lineman Sheldon Day, center Nick Martin and running back Cam McDaniel his four leaders for the upcoming season.

Kelly made the announcement via Twitter this evening, after saying the news was imminent during his weekly Tuesday press conference.  The four players aren’t surprises, though Kelly has said multiple players could fill a leadership role.

Collinsworth started 11 games last season at safety and has made 39 career appearances. The grad student made 43 tackles and three interceptions in 2013. Day enters his junior season having played in 24 of 26 games, starting eight last season in an injury-plagued sophomore campaign. He’s expected to do big things in new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder’s scheme.

Offensively, the Irish will have Martin leading the offensive line, taking over for his brother Zack, a two-time captain. Nick moved into the starting lineup last season at center after backing up Braxston Cave in 2012. He started the first 11 games of the season before being injured against BYU.

McDaniel has played in 34 games over the last three seasons, making four starts last year as he led the Irish in rushing yards. He ran for 117 yards against BYU and broke 100 all-purpose yards against USC and Arizona State as well.

Kelly has talked about the team’s leadership, praising a large group of players young and old on this team. And while some speculated that Everett Golson or Jaylon Smith could end up wearing the ‘C,’ Kelly naming these four doesn’t mean that others haven’t stepped forward.

“I’ve got a great Unity Council that is representative of our freshmen, sophomores, junior and seniors, and it’s a very active group, the most active I have had since I’ve been here at Notre Dame,” Kelly explained earlier Tuesday. “They are calling meetings, soliciting input from the players, very, very active group that is right now very important to our group.”

Notre Dame opens the season on Saturday afternoon against Rice in Notre Dame Stadium. The game will be televised on NBC, with the national broadcast beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.