Ohio State Believes All Nine Captains Deserved Honor

By Dan Hope on August 21, 2017 at 9:37 pm
Chris Worley was named as one of Ohio State's nine captains for the 2017 season.

Since Ohio State announced its nine captains for the 2017 season last week, some have questioned whether that number – the largest total of captains in school history – is too many.

Ohio State’s captains themselves, though, feel there could have been even more.

"Honestly, we could have had 12, 13 captains," said senior linebacker Chris Worley, one of the nine who was chosen as a captain. "There’s definitely 12 or 13 guys deserving of captain."

Senior defensive end Jalyn Holmes, also among the nine who were chosen, said he and his teammates felt this year’s captain vote was the toughest they had in their Ohio State careers.

"I ain’t even vote for myself, really, because there’s too many qualified people," Holmes said. "I had to change my answer like 10 times."

The Buckeyes were only allowed to vote for four players each, yet nine players received a significant enough portion of the vote that they ended up being named captains. Holmes and Worley are joined as captains by senior quarterback J.T. Barrett, redshirt junior wide receivers Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin, senior center Billy Price, redshirt junior defensive end Sam Hubbard, senior defensive end Tyquan Lewis and senior defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle.

The Buckeyes believe that is a testament to how many players on their team have stepped up as leaders.

"I feel like all nine of us, if one of the nine of us wasn’t captain, it would be like they deserved it and didn’t get it. So the fact that all nine of us got it, it seems like a lot, but all nine of us really I feel like deserved to be captains," Hubbard said. "Everybody really is doing their part to be an example for this team. That’s why we have so many."

Head coach Urban Meyer, whose Ohio State teams have all had at least five captains, acknowledged that having nine captains is "a lot." But he still chose to name that many captains because he didn’t want to deprive a player who he felt was worthy of the honor.

"I remember when (former Ohio State defensive lineman and assistant coach) Mike Vrabel was here, he was in our staff meeting and he mentioned that he was not elected captain, which blew my mind, and it was just because they limited it to three or four," Meyer said. "I'm thinking that's one of the greatest honors you could ever have, why would you ever take that from a guy that's deserving? So I’ve always, since that conversation I had with him, whoever deserves it is going to be captain."

“Honestly, we could have had 12, 13 captains."– Chris Worley

Meyer said the players the team chose as captains correlated with the players he would have chosen.

All nine captains were already members of the team’s leadership council, which also includes senior offensive tackle Jamarco Jones, junior cornerback Denzel Ward, senior safety Damon Webb and redshirt sophomore running back Mike Weber.

The captains insist those players will still be viewed as equally important leaders even though they are not captains in title.

"Just because there’s nine official name captains, I think that that is not limited to the leadership we have on the upper part of our team," Price said. "There’s a lot of expectations on the guys that are not just captains, but making sure that our leadership and the direction of our team is going the right way."

As for the players who were chosen as captains, the Buckeyes believe there is good balance between their roles on the roster, with four captains on the offensive side of the ball and five captains on the defensive side of the ball.

"Everyone has their own parts of the team that they have guys look up to them," Hubbard said.

The captains don’t feel like they have to compete with each other to be team leaders because they believe their leadership roles come naturally.

"You don’t try to become a leader. You either are or you’re not, and that’s just the type of guys we have as far as the captains," Worley said. "It’s not like we’re taking turns every day, like 'OK, today, me, J.T., Tyquan and Billy are going to be leaders.' No, it’s whenever you see something fit. If Terry and Parris see a receiver not go hard, they’re going to take their leadership and captain role and say something to them and address it. That’s what it’s all about."

Critics of the number of captains have argued that having so many captains devalues the role for all of them, but the Buckeyes don’t see it that way.

"Somebody had said something slick on Twitter or something about it, but that just shows that we got a lot of leaders on the team, and all of us lead in different ways," Holmes said.

Even with nine captains, it’s still possible one player could stand out above the rest as a team leader. Hubbard said everyone on the team looks to Barrett, Ohio State’s first-ever three-time captain, as a team leader.

"It’s hard not to look to J.T. as that guy," Hubbard said. "I feel like we all look to him as the captain of the captains."

Every captain expect Campbell met with the media on Monday, and all of them said they were honored to be chosen as captains by their teammates. They also agreed, though, that being named a captain won’t change the way they go about their business, because they believe they had already taken on leadership roles.

"Nothing’s really changed. Just try to be the Jalyn Holmes I can be for my team," Holmes said. "So me being a captain, or if I wasn’t a captain, I’d still be that guy that my teammates could come to for anything, if it’s football or life."

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