Who Has the Inside Track to be a Captain for the 2014 Buckeyes?

By Jeff Beck on March 28, 2014 at 11:30a
Looking for leaders
23 Comments

With spring practice in full swing there are a number of players vying for starting positions.  But, it isn’t just players on the cusp trying to impress their way into the rotation, it’s also rotation players attempting to impress their way into a captain's role.

Following a squad vote last season, Urban Meyer selected eight men to lead his team. It’s impossible to say how many captains Meyer will tap this year, but it’s slightly easier to determine who will be in the running. So, without further adieu, here’s a way too early 2014 captains prediction.

Braxton Miller

This one’s about as close to a lock as you’re going to see. Miller was one of just two juniors named to the cadre of captains last season (the other being Ryan Damn Shazier). Miller will be a senior in 2014, touches the ball on every offensive possession, holds a boatload of Scarlet and Gray records and has the opportunity to break a few more.

A concern heading into last season was Braxton wasn’t vocal enough. That seemed to change in spring ball last year, but maybe not as much as some believed. This offseason quarterbacks coach, Tom Herman, has subtly called Miller out, stating he can no longer "take a back-seat" to Kenny Guiton when answering questions in the meeting room. That should be enough to put Miller on notice, but only time will tell.

With the injury to his shoulder, Braxton has been focusing on the mental side of the game. The much ballyhooed “Braxton Cam” allows coaches to see Miller’s perspective while the Huber Heights product calls out the coverages he sees. The hope is Miller’s emphasis on the heady side of the game this Spring will translate into an increased leadership role on the field this fall.

Michael Bennett

Bennett is another name that’s sure to make the short-list of candidates this fall. The lone senior on the team’s best unit, Bennett will be relied upon to bring the young-pups up-to-speed. Starters like Adolphus Washington, Joey Bosa and Noah Spence know the drill, but defensive line coach, Larry Johnson, wants to see eight or nine guys in the rotation at all times. That means the blue-chip talent stockpiled over the last two years will be expected to make a more immediate impact. Michael Bennett is the leader who must work to help get them there.

The endearing Bennett had a monster 2013 tallying 38 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks (good enough for second on the team). In addition, the 6’2’’ 288 lbs Centerville product forced 4 fumbles and recovered three, good enough for first on the team.

Bennett is primed and ready for a stellar swan song. Earning a “C” on the jersey would only make his final campaign that much more special.

Devin Smith  

Smith makes the list because the wide receiver corps will be in desperate need of a big-time leader. Gone is Philly Brown, tops on the team in catches, which leaves Smith as the sole receiver with any significant production sans Evan Spencer.

In 2013 Smith tallied career bests in receptions (44), yards (660) and touchdowns (8) and set a school record with a 90-yard haul against Cal in week three. To put things in perspective the remainder of returning receivers combined for just 24 catches, 22 of which were reeled in by Spencer.

Needless to say, Smith will need to inhabit a player/coach duality if the group wants to see continued growth in 2014. As Michael wrote a couple weeks ago, 2014 will be Smith’s time to embrace or shy away from the spotlight. If he steps up to the plate, look for a captainship to follow.

Doran Grant

Grant is the wild-card on this list, but much like Smith he plays on a unit in dire need of a guiding hand. Grant will be the only full-time starter returning on the secondary and he put together a solid 2013, tallying three interceptions (tied for first on the team), 10 pass breakups (second on the squad), and 55 tackles (tied for fourth on the team). 

D Grant
Doran Grant could be a captain this fall.

Overall the unit had to hear how terrible they were all offseason, and that “terrible” group only got younger and less-experienced. Mechanisms have been installed to breed success (Chris Ash, a new philosophy etc.) but that doesn’t change the fact that none of the players around Grant have played in front of a raucous Happy Valley or East Lansing crowd. 

The talent is there with players like Gareon Conley, Eli Apple, Cam Burrows, Ron Tanner and incoming freshmen Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker, Erick Smith and Damon Webb, but when the going gets tough these youngins will need a field general. That duty should fall to Grant. The hope is he's up to the challenge.


Captains won’t be named for months, but the work to become a captain is being put in at the WHAC right now. All four of these players have the chance to join the ranks of a prestigious fraternity, but it’s up to them to earn it this fall.

23 Comments

Comments

Kingbuck12's picture

Lets just put Bosa up there and be done with it. That guys a monster. He leads by his play. Give him a record 15 sacks this season. Mark it down. 

Kingbuck12

gm3jones's picture

Way to young IMO. He has supreme talent, no doubt, but the "C" is earned, not given. He needs to be a role model to younger guys on and off the field. You cannot gauge that with one offseason IMO.

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.

+6 HS
joel121270's picture

Uh, why would anyone down vote here? Some people on here really make me wonder. What about his statement deserves a down vote? Good God!

+4 HS
ChazBuckeye's picture

D. Grant*, B. Miller, Devin Smith and M. Bennett were going to be my predictions too.  I can't see them using any more than one Junior this year.  There's too many Seniors that are more than good fits for captain.  

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

+1 HS
Goalscorer9's picture

D. Grant is also a senior this upcoming season.

Seattle Linga's picture

Agreed on all these Chaz - Let's bring back Kenny G as an Honorary Captain during the Alumni Game.

ChicagoBuckeyeFan's picture

Decker is a lock, amirite? Also, what about Heuerman?.

+5 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

Heuerman?

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

+7 HS
osuisnumber1's picture

I agree with Heuerman, he is someone who can be counted on. He will also probably go to next level.

steveinkc's picture

Always think it should be seniors first!!! never go lower than junior, ever!! sends wrong message to devolping your senior class as the leaders of the team. i like the picks except grant..unless he's a starter!!

steveinkc

+1 HS
d5k's picture

Brax, Bennett, D. Grant, Heuerman, Decker

+1 HS
osu07asu10's picture

Heuerman absolutely will be. 

Dark horse on offense: D. Baldwin on the o-line as a senior. Also could maybe see Evan Spencer but didn't he get his hand slapped pretty hard by Urban for the media gaffe, so probably not.

Dark horse on defense: Joel Hale, or even Curtis Grant

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

+1 HS
BassDropper's picture

Braxton, Heurman, Bennett, Josh Perry

DIRECTIONER

+1 HS
johnny11's picture

Rod Smith has been mentioned by Drayton and Meyer as becoming a good leader on the team. I wouldn't be surprised if he took a captain spot as well.

CGroverL's picture

I don't know if Smith has what it takes to be a captain simply because people think FUMBLE when they hear his name. It is fair to a point as Smith fumbled 4 times before he got his 50th carry as a Buckeye. If he has cured his fumbling issue though, I believe we have an Eddie George type back. Don't laugh...the guy is 6'3" and is weighing in at close to 240 pounds right now. He has always been 230+ pounds so it isn't like he just added cheeseburger weight like George Foreman used to...Rod Smith is a beast and he has excellent speed as well. Like I said "don't laugh", but both Eddie George and Rod Smith are/were 6'3" and 240 pounds....the only difference might be that Smith is a bit faster than George was. If Smith gets OL play like El Guapo did, he could rush for 1500+ yards just like Eddie George and Carlos Hyde did....Sounds like a captain to me!!! If nothing else, Smith should be the #1 RB and get 20 carries a game if he holds on to the damn ball.

"I hope they're last in everything"

Thanks, Urb!

+3 HS
johnny11's picture

We are speaking the same language CGroverL. I think Smith can be special he just has to get out of his own way like Drayton has said before.

+2 HS
saltybuck61's picture

Rod Smith definitely fumbled a bit as a freshman, but his past two years haven't been that bad. Now, he didn't have a whole lot of opportunities last year, but he has not fumbled in a while. Let's hope he continues that trend. Besides that, I completely agree with you. He has quite a bit of talent and has a chance to step into the starting role this year. I would love to see him have that breakout year this fall.

+1 HS
sivaDavis's picture

This is going to get some weird looks but for some reason I think Curtis Grant will be a captain. Also if there is going to be a Junior as a captain, I see Decker grabbing that.

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
Buckeyefan774's picture

I see either decker or heurman being another captain on offense beside Braxton. I also like the idea from some people above that say Curtis Grant. If he steps up in a big way this fall I could see it. 

+1 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

It certainly will be fun to watch this unfold.

GVerrilli92's picture

I think it would be a great idea to give Curtis Grant that opportunity. It would motivate him even more and give him an offseason goal to work towards.

As a MLB, you kinda feel like the captain of the defense anyways, and it would be a great confidence boost to let him earn that position. 

How many cheeseburgers are you gunna drive into that dirty old cheeseburger locker Brady Hoke?