January 23, 2011 // Notre Dame Football

Michael Floyd, Harrison Smith Named Captains

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In Brian Kelly’s first season at Notre Dame he announced captains on a week by week basis.  In year two, Notre Dame will have the same two captains each week all season long – Michael Floyd and Harrison Smith.

Michael Floyd was named a captain for the 2011 season along with safety Harrison Smith. (Photo - Icon SMI)

After calling all of the seniors on the stage to a standing ovation, Kelly announced that Floyd and Smith would serve as captains for next season.  Based on how the season ended for Notre Dame Kelly’s announcement should come as no surprise to Notre Dame fans.  In a way, it is, however, surprising that careers of both Floyd and Smith have led them to being captains in 2011.

For Floyd, it’s only surprising because he is still on campus and returning for his senior season.  Most felt that Floyd would leave for the NFL after his junior season almost from the moment he stepped foot on campus and scored a touchdown with his first career catch in his first career game.  As everyone knows by now, however, Floyd decided to return for his senior season to finish his degree and prove that he’s the best receiver in the country.

Floyd might be one of the most unassuming captains Notre Dame has ever had.  Despite playing a position prone to producing divas, Floyd doesn’t seek the limelight.  In fact, he does the opposite.  When Floyd decided he would be returning for his senior season, Notre Dame wanted to have a press conference. Floyd didn’t so there wasn’t one.

Floyd even had to be forced to give a speech after receiving his team MVP Award earlier in the tonight.  Once he got to the podium, Notre Dame’s star receiver giggled before thanking everyone he could.

Smith on the other hand has had a much more tumultuous career.  After redshirting in 2007, Smith stepped into a starting role in 2008 before bouncing around between safety and outside linebacker.  By the end of the 2009 season, Smith was known more for boneheaded penalties than he was game changing plays.

Part of Smith’s inconsistency was the result of not being able to settle in at one position.  The previous coaching regime moved Smith back and forth between outside linebacker and safety a few times.  When Kelly took over last year, however, he said that if Smith couldn’t play safety, he couldn’t play in this defense.

It turns out Smith can play safety in this defense pretty well.  It was Smith’s interception in the final minute that sealed Notre Dame’s first win over USC since 2001 and it was Smith’s three interceptions in the first half of the Sun Bowl that helped the Irish build an insurmountable lead over the Hurricanes.  Now Smith will be tasked with being the leader of Notre Dame’s resurgent defense next season.

With Smith as a captain for 2011, we now know of at least two 5th year seniors coming back next season.  David Ruffer, who was awarded a scholarship yesterday for next season, being the other.  That unofficially leaves Notre Dame with 5 more remaining scholarships for more 5th year seniors and recruits.

Floyd might be one of the most unassuming captains Notre Dame has ever had.  Despite playing a position prone to producing divas, Floyd doesn’t seek the limelight.  In fact, he does the opposite.  When Floyd decided he would be returning for his senior season, Notre Dame wanted to have a press conference, but Floyd didn’t want one.

Floyd even had to be forced to give a speech after receiving his team MVP Award earlier in the night.  Once he got to the podium, Notre Dame’s star receiver giggled before thanking everyone he could.

Comments to this Article

  • Power Run The Ball commented on January 23rd, 2011 at 11:19 am

    It very exciting that Smith and FLoyd are returning. It is a special thing to be named Captain of your college football team and hopefully they will be great leaders and mature greatly from there experiences.

    Floyd and Smith spent last yr learning and proving to themselves and their teamates that they are capable of being leaders on Notre Dame’s football team. This season they will lead Notre Dame to a great seaon.

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  • Power Run The Ball commented on January 23rd, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Reading about why FLoyd stayed..

    He talk about remaining in College/ staying with his teamates/ and Being a part about Notre Dame Football…

    3 awesome reason to decide to stay at Notre Dame….

    He did mention his stock in the draft and improving his skills for the NFL but the 1st three reason is what I am most proud about Michael Floyd and why he is deserving of being a Captain of the football team…

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    ted replied on January 23rd, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    let’s not get carried away. after watching kelly’s press conference, it was all about his 3rd round grade. kelly said that people with his grade or worse that were juniors stayed in school 9/11 times last year. and people with his grade were picked in the 3rd round or later 8/9 times. 3rd round money is a fraction of what he could get in the first round. everything else was ancillary to the $$$. it was/is an informed gamble, get insurance, stay in school, the choice was pretty easy after crunching the numbers.

    besides, you guys see what clausen is doing? the degree will always be there for him if he did declare for the draft.

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    irish replied on January 23rd, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Agreed, if he is a first rounder he is gone.

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    JC replied on January 25th, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Excellent points, there can be no doubt it is all about the money. And there can be no doubt that Michael Floyd has the talent to be the best receiver in college football for 2011. However, durability not talent may be his Achilles’ Heel in the eyes of the NFL draft; seems unfair if it is true. Nonetheless, great news for ND and I wish Michael an outstanding year!

    All aboard the BK-Express! Go Irish!

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  • irishspartan commented on January 28th, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Huggins to Rutgers. Oh well…i like Cam McDaniel’s potential from this class. Next year we need to get a stud running back though.

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    Joe replied on January 28th, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    As an ND fan I hate to say it but it’s nice to see Rutgers keep top in-state talent.

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  • Cav commented on January 28th, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    This is not the end of the world and it will not make or break this class. Kelly was successful at getting some stud defensive recruits, which was by far the biggest need.

    As far as a stud running back, I think we did get one this year and his name is Theo Riddick. Kelly made it pretty clear in the press conference that it makes sense for Riddick to go back to being a running back. I think the reason for this is that he is pretty high on Bennett Jackson. You can have Floyd and Jackson on the outside and TJ Jones in the slot. Jackson’s speed will open up the field so defenses will have to pick their poison.

    The offense was not anywhere where Kelly wanted it, so with a year of experience, the offense will be better next year. You will have Wood, Riddick, Gray, and Robertson in the backfield. With a high octane offense and a stout defense, recruits will come.

    I hope Huggins has a great career at Rutgers, but he will not have near the exposure he would have had at ND.

    Is it time for spring ball yet?

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  • jack commented on January 29th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Have people forgot about Dion Walker, John Goldman and other 4 star recruits on the roster.

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    FightinIrishmun replied on January 31st, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Deion Walker has never stepped up to the plate and shown he is capable of ANY playing time. He was in Chuck’s doghouse and doesn’t seem to be doing anything better with BK. Goodman is a solid pair of hands and a capable back-up. He’ll continue to get playing time here and there. Look out for Daniel Smith this year and GA III on the kick returns.

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    jack replied on January 31st, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Thanks for the update on Walker. I think CW recruited a lot of problem players. Shaq Evans transferred and Walker hasn’t shown anything to date.

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    FightinIrishmun replied on January 31st, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I remember being excited about getting walker and then evans but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Can’t be sure why but I’m sure it falls under the BK RKG philosophy.

  • joeyknucklehead commented on January 31st, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Haven’t forgoten about Walker but the ND stat guys have forgotten about him. 2009 – 1 catch / 2010 – 0 catches. Hopefully Goodman can still find his niche at wildcat QB or as the QB’s safety valve receiver. Roby Toma shouldn’t be lost in the shuffle as he brings good skills to BK’s offense.

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  • ted commented on January 31st, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    this is an interesting look back at this years senior class at nd and accross the country.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/recruiting/football/news/story?id=5652297

    it is sad that so much talent in this class largely went to waste, with the exception of jimmy and golden.

    just looking at how guys like hughes, ian williams, gray and brian smith played the second half of the season leads me to believe that it was a lack of coaching, not talent.

    keep coaching em up kelly!

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