Harrison Smith fits many roles as Irish captain

Saturday Notre Dame honored the seniors on this year's squad, as many of them set foot on the field for the final time. One of those honorees, was the captain, a man who's led the team and kept it together all season long.

Harrison Smith's come a long way.

"My first year here was one of the worst in Notre Dame history," he recalled of 2007.

From a young kid to the disciplined captain and leader. Jamoris Slaughter even called him the Godfather of the defense.

"I get that a lot," Smith said. "That's pretty much daily. I'm actually not the oldest guy on the team, but I'm definitely one of them. They like to call me grandpa and stuff like that."

Like a grandfather, he's the one they turn to for advise.

"Kind of the rock of our football team," Tommy Rees said of Smith. "He's a a guy you can always count on. A great senior leader this being his 5th year, and I think a lot of guys look up to him for all the right reasons."

And when tensions flaired and the house got divided just before the Navy game, it was Harrison Smith who brought the family back together.

"We just came together. Players, coaches. Support staff. Kind of shared what was on our hearts. Know that we have each other's backs. And we just moved forward as a family does," Smith said.

That family grew stronger after that brief divide and a new motto emerged. "Count on me," a saying Harrison now emphasizes greatly before games.

"Each person has a responsibility within the team," he said. "You should be counted to do your job. It's kind of a responsibility thing. It's a constant reminder that you need to do your job within this organization."

And no one does his job, anchoring the irish, better than Harrison.

"I couldn't imagine anyone behind besides Harrison," Manti Te'o said. "He just does everything. He does everything. I don't know. nobody can replace that guy."

Harrison said there was nothing he wanted more than to get a win on Senior day. That's exactly what he got.


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