Team votes for seniors


The Huskie football players have cast their votes and the ballots are in for which players will have the honor of being team captains for the upcoming season.

This season, they have picked four fifth-year seniors—tailback LeShon Johnson, tight end Raymond Roberts, linebacker Tony Smith and offensive lineman Tim O’Brien.

“I was very pleased that our team selected the captains which they did,” said head coach Charlie Sadler.

This is the first year that more than three players have been elected captains since the 1982 team chose five and the 1980 team chose four, both under coach Bill Mallory. There were four of them chosen this year because the voting between them was close, according to Sadler.

The most notable among Huskie fans is probably Johnson, who is the nation’s No. 2 returning major college rusher and “longshot” Heisman Trophy candidate. The six-foot 205-pound Johnson, also known as the “Cowboy”, tore through opponents’ defenses last season for 1,338 yards and six touchdowns on 265 attempts. Not only is Johnson an All-Conference candidate, but he’s also been chosen to seven pre-season All-America teams.

Roberts is also a pre-season pick for All-Conference in the new Big West. The six-foot two-inch, 251-pound tight end was fourth in team receiving last season with 17 catches for 199 yards and three touchdowns.

O’Brien (6’5″ 285 pounds) has started 22 consecutive games for the Huskies. The team’s top returning blocker is also a pre-season pick for All Big West.

“It’s the biggest honor I’ve received as far as football goes because it was given to me by my teammates,” said O’Brien. “I’m really proud to be one (a captain), and I’m going to do the best job I can.”

Smith is the lone captain representing the defense. The 5’11” 225-pounder is the nations No. 7 returning major college tackler, and of course a pre-season All-Big West candidate. He finished last season 19th nationally with 142 stops, 84 of them solo. Smith, who didn’t expect to go from a freshman walk-on to a captain as a senior, doesn’t feel much pressure in his new role.

“I felt since spring that the younger players kind of looked to me as being in a leadership role, and the coaching staff and defensive coordinator started looking at me as a leader,” Smith said. “I was kind of prepared by them early in the spring, so I don’t feel too much added pressure.”

“All of them have one thing in common,” said Sadler. “And that’s the fact that this football team is very important to them.”