The biggest storyline early in the 2017 MSU season will undoubtedly be the team’s lack of depth. The team’s inexperience is so startling, it’s even playing a role in the selection of team captains.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio named two seniors as the team captains – linebacker Chris Frey and offensive lineman Brian Allen.
This marks the first time in Dantonio’s decade-long tenure in East Lansing that he has only named two captains. In previous years he named three players as team captains, in his early MSU years he named four captains.
In addition to the two captains, Dantonio filled in most of the members of the team’s Eagle Council, a group of players selected to act as leaders for the team. This year’s Eagle Council will feature 14 players, including the two captains. The first 12 players have already been named, the team will vote on the final two next week, according to Chris Solari.
Here are the 12 Eagle Council members:
- Chris Frey, senior, linebacker
- Brian Allen, senior, offensive lineman
- Brian Lewerke, sophomore, quarterback
- Gerald Holmes, senior, running back
- Raequan Williams, sophomore, defensive tackle
- Mitchell Sokol, freshman, linebacker
- Andrew Dowell, junior, linebacker
- Matt Morrissey, junior, safety
- Grayson Miller, junior, safety
- Joe Bachie, sophomore, linebacker
- Byron Bullough, junior, linebacker
- Khari Willis, junior, safety
Nine of the 12 players on the council come from the defensive side of the ball. Allen is the only returning member from last year’s council.
While roles like these are seemingly only important to the players and the team, the distinction of being named a captain has made news in previous years for Dantonio’s squad.
In 2015, quarterback Connor Cook wasn’t named one of the three captains. Dantonio insisted there was nothing behind Cook being left out of the group, some NFL analysts used it as a way to question Cook’s leadership ability.
Like so many other positions on the 2017 football team, leadership roles are open for players who want to grab them. Whether the team plays well or not, someone will need to step forward as the leader of the team – both in the locker room and to the public.