Graduate safety Austin Collinsworth, junior defensive lineman Sheldon Day, senior center Nick Martin and senior running back Cam McDaniel have been named captains for the 2014 University of Notre Dame football team.
Day and Martin are the first pair of Irish football captains from the same hometown since 1954, when Chicago natives Paul Matz and Dan Shannon both earned that honor. It is also the second time in three years that multiple Indiana natives have served as football captains for Notre Dame — in 2012 Fort Wayne’s Tyler Eifert joined Indianapolis’ Zack Martin as a captain.
Collinsworth (Fort Thomas, Ky./Highlands) has played in 39 career games for the Irish, starting 11 contests at safety in 2013, when he registered a career-high 43 tackles and recorded three interceptions. He also carries an active streak of three consecutive games with an interception, making Collinsworth the first Notre Dame player to pull off that feat since current Irish graduate assistant coach Kyle McCarthy in 2009.
Day (Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central) has played in 24 career games for the Irish, appearing in 11 contests and making eight starts in 2013 despite a series of injuries. Day turned in his best performances late last season, recording three tackles for loss Nov. 9 at Pittsburgh, and collecting a career-high seven tackles (plus a pass breakup) Nov. 23 against BYU.
Martin (Indianapolis, Ind./Bishop Chatard) is the younger brother of former Notre Dame All-American offensive tackle Zack Martin who captained the Irish in 2012 and 2013 and now plays for the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys. The Martins become only the second pair of brothers to serve as team captains for the Notre Dame football team, joining Bob Golic (1978) and Mike Golic Sr. (1984). Nick Martin has played in 24 games during his Irish career, starting 11 games last season when he helped anchor an offensive line that allowed just eight sacks, ranking second in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) for the fewest sacks allowed.
McDaniel (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) played in all 26 of Notre Dame’s games the past two seasons. The team’s leading rusher in 2013 with 152 carries for 705 yards and a pair of touchdowns, McDaniel turned in a 117-yard rushing effort Nov. 23 against BYU, and his fourth-quarter touchdown run Nov. 2 against Navy proved vital in a 38-34 Irish win. This season, McDaniel is the veteran leader of perhaps Notre Dame’s deepest position unit where he will mentor sophomore running backs Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston.
Two hundred student-athletes, including this year’s quartet, have served as permanent Irish football captains during the program’s storied 126-year history.