On Wednesday before the season opener, the Panthers chose captains for the upcoming season. Leadership will be extremely important this season as the players need to adjust to first year head coach Todd Graham, an entirely new assistant coaching staff, and a completely new offensive and defensive system.
“For us to win championships, we need leadership,” Graham said. “We took input from people of merit.”
Overall, seven captains were chosen by their teammates, coaches, and support staff made up of three on offense, three on defense, and one on special teams.
“We elected captains with a different approach,” Graham said. “We didn’t want a popularity vote. We wanted our captains to earn the right.”
Graham has been raving about the leadership redshirt senior defensive lineman Myles Caragein has been showing as well as redshirt junior wide receiver Mike Shanahan, so it was no surprise those two players were among this season’s captains.
Caragein was joined on the defensive captain squad by senior defensive back Antwuan Reed and redshirt junior defensive back Jared Holley. Shanahan was joined as an offensive captain by redshirt senior offensive lineman Chris Jacobson and redshirt junior quarterback Tino Sunseri.
“Tino is not a vocal leader that breaks out in speech but leads by example and has the respect of his teammates,” Graham said. “He kept his mouth shut but was the first one on the field and the last one off. He sprinted to every practice and nobody worked harder than him both on and off the field. That’s how you become a leader.”
Redshirt junior Andrew Taglianetti was named captain from the special teams. Besides being a special teams standout, Taglianetti also moved up the depth chart and is expected to see considerable action on defense this year.
A leadership council was also chosen to help provide a strong support system this season. Senior offensive lineman Lucas Nix, redshirt senior offensive lineman Jordan Gibbs, and junior running back Ray Graham were chosen from the offense. They joined redshirt senior defensive lineman Chas Alecxih, redshirt senior linebacker Max Gruder, and redshirt sophomore defensive back Jason Hendricks from the defense.
Freshmen and sophomore leadership councils were also chosen, which included redshirt sophomore Devin Street and sophomore K’Waun Williams who were joined by freshmen linebacker Nicholas Grigsby, defensive end Juan Price, and defensive back Lafayette Pitts.
“Our freshmen haven’t been here long enough to vote on captains, so they voted on a freshmen leadership council,” Graham said. “I know that’s a lot of names. We’re excited to get underway.”
for further information: Pitt web site