The Louisville Cardinals have named seven players as the captains of their 2017 team. Most of the choices are expected, though there are one or two surprises. Quarterback Lamar Jackson, running back Reggie Bonnafon, wide receiver Devante Peete, left tackle Geron Christian, cornerback Jaire Alexander, safety Chucky Williams and punter Mason King have earned the designation; though chosen by the players, their selections say a lot about what attributes head coach Bobby Petrino will be looking to emphasize this year.
Of all the captains, Jackson, Alexander and Williams are the least surprising. Jackson is, of course, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and all-around best player on the team. All eyes are going to be on him both on and off the field, and the locker room as a whole is going to take most of its cues from his demeanor. As for Alexander and Williams, Louisville is fast becoming a school that’s known for producing quality secondary talent, so selecting two captains from that unit only further emphasizes the pride the Cardinals have in it. In the long run, that should continue to fuel a culture that will entice the type of recruits needed to maintain that identity.
Choosing Christian and Peete as captains makes sense because the receiving corps and the O-line are two areas where the level of play has been slipping for the past season or two; thus, empowering someone from each area in this way should enable them to lead by example. Christian is a very smart choice for these reasons; although the official depth chart for linemen has been in flux as of late, Christian is the one name who consistently appears as a starter, and you don’t want any instability on the blind side when everything you’re trying to accomplish relies on a special player like Jackson.
Peete also makes sense among the captains because he’s a player with the potential to be something truly special. A 6’6″, 210 lb junior, Peete has only caught 16 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown in his career thus far. With that frame, and Jackson in dire need of a primary target after James Quick moved on to the NFL, there’s no excuse for him not to become the bane of every ACC defensive back’s existence. If that can sink in for him, it can send a powerful signal to every other hidden gem buried on the roster.
Then there’s Bonnafon and King. What do a senior running back/former receiver/former QB and a sophomore punter have in common? They’re the local boys, that’s what. The annual showdown between Trinity and St. Xavier High Schools arguably means more to this football-crazy city than anything the Cardinals do, so it comes as no shock that two of the Cards’ captains represent each side of the rivalry. Give the Cards bonus points for picking two compelling storylines as well; there’s Bonnafon (of Trinity), the comeback kid looking for his niche, and King (of St. X), who obliterated every school single-season punting record as a freshman and proves just how much of an impact on the game guys at his position can have.
All in all, these captains send a message that this is a team that knows where its strengths are, and where it needs to improve. They also love the fans they play for, and are eager to go out and win for them. It should be an exciting season here in the Ville.
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