With just a few days before the 2020 season kicks off against Duke inside Notre Dame Stadium, the Fighting Irish officially announced their captains for the 2020 season. Quarterback Ian Book, defensive end Daelin Hayes, safety Shaun Crawford, offensive tackle Robert Hainsey, and defensive end Ade Ogundeji are your 2020 Notre Dame football captains.
Both Ian Book and Robert Hainsey are captains for the second consecutive year making them the 23rd and 24th players in Notre Dame history to serve as a captain for multiple seasons. Drue Tranquill was the last two-time captain for Notre Dame in 2017-18. Book is the first quarterback to be a two-time captain since Brady Quinn in 2005-06.
Overall, over 200 different players have held the distinction of captain for the Fighting Irish.
Book was a no-brainer as one of the team captains again this fall. The graduate student was a captain in 2019 and this is very much his team right now. After his disastrous performance in Ann Arbor last October, Book rebounded by putting the Irish on his back and leading them to vistories in each of their final six games of the season including the Camping World Bowl. This will be his third season as the starting quarterback for Notre Dame and if he gets to play all 11 games currently on the schedule, he will climb up the record books of Notre Dame football history.
Hainsey, the other two-time captain this year, was also a no-brainer after serving as the leader of the offensive line a year ago. One of the reasons many are so high on Notre Dame this year is because they return their entire offensive line. Hainsey is now tasked with being that group’s leader for the second year in a row.
For the second year in a row, Notre Dame’s captains also feature both of their starting defensive ends. Last year it was Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara. This year it’s Daelin Hayes and Ade Ogundeji. While the two are both graduate students and captains, their paths to this point were very different. Hayes was a 5-star recruit with a lot of hype while Ogundeji was a raw, developmental prospect.
Hayes battled through multiple injuries during his career including one last year that cost him most of the season and allowed him to redshirt and return for one final season. Ogundeji wasn’t slowed by injuries over his career, but he did take some time to develop under Mike Elston. Big things are expected from both 5th-year senior captains this fall.
Rounding out the captains this year is Shaun Crawford. His battles with injuries are well-known by this point leading to his 6th year of eligibility being granted by the NCAA for medical hardship. After spending his first five seasons between the training room and at cornerback, Crawford moved to safety this summer and will start alongside Kyle Hamilton. Crawford’s captaincy is a well-earned distinction for a player who has endured more hard luck than any other player in recent memory.
Five captains is down slightly from last year’s group of seven that featured Jalen Elliott, Chris Finke, Alohi Gilman, Kareem, and Okwara in addition to Book and Hainsey.