Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly announced four captains for the 2014 season Tuesday evening: Running back Cam McDaniel, center Nick Martin, defensive tackle Sheldon Day and safety Austin Collinsworth.
Both Martin, a redshirt senior, and Day, a junior, could be two-time captains if they stick around for their final year of eligibility in 2015. McDaniel (senior) and Collinsworth (redshirt senior) are in their final years of eligibility this season.
In his press conference earlier Tuesday, Kelly said he hadn't named captains yet but added the overall leadership on his team was sound.
"I want to be very careful that we select the right people and make sure that our voice is being herd across the group," Kelly said. "Again, this is a limited democracy and our players know that, but I want to make sure that we're representing everybody across the board with our football players."
A number of underclassmen and redshirt juniors will play major roles on Notre Dame this fall, with only a handful of seniors and graduate students filling starting roles. So just because, say, sophomore linebacker Jaylon Smith isn't a captain doesn't mean he won't be a leader for Notre Dame this fall.
"I have a small senior class. I have 17 redshirt juniors, the largest class that we have ever had here in terms of numbers," Kelly said. "So we have a lot of underclassmen that can be leaders that are sophomores. We have a lot of leaders out there."
Kelly said earlier this month that McDaniel is the guy who will stand up in front of his teammates and rally them, while Martin will continue on the leadership path paved by his brother, Zack, a two-time captain and first-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in May.
Notre Dame's young defensive line has rallied around Day, whose leadership qualities were roundly praised during preseason camp. And Collinsworth is the only fifth-year senior starting on the Irish defense, and will play a significant role in getting his teammates aligned given his position and experience.