Aug. 25, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Senior quarterback Kirk Cousins, senior left guard Joel Foreman, and senior safety Trenton Robinson have been elected by their teammates to serve as Michigan State's captains for the 2011 season, head coach Mark Dantonio announced following Thursday's practice. An additional captain will also be selected each week.
"They're a great group of leaders who have all played a lot of football here," said Dantonio. "They've not only had success, but they've also been on the other side of the fence a little bit in terms of having to battle through some adverse situations in their lives. When you pick leaders, as I told our football team this morning, you need to find people who have gone through difficult times and have been able to move forward in a positive manner. I think they will be great leaders for us."
Cousins becomes just the second three-time captain in the 115-year history of Spartan football, joining center Robert McCurry (1946-47-48). It marks the first time Foreman and Robinson have been elected team captains.
"I'm excited about the opportunity again to help lead this football team," said Cousins. "I think one of the strengths of this football team is that it's not just going to be three guys leading. We have a tremendous senior class that's filled with a bunch of leadership, and our unity council is filled with leadership, so more than just the captain role, we have leadership from seniors on down to freshmen. That is what can separate our team from the rest of the Big Ten."
"It's just a great honor," said Foreman, who enters his senior year having already started 36 games on the offensive line. "To be able to have those guys think that highly of you and to put you into that position of leadership, to have your peers think of you like that, is just unbelievable. It's something I need to take to heart. I need to go out there and try to lead this team as best as I can every day."
"It almost doesn't feel real," said Robinson. "I'm just honored the players on the team picked me. That means a lot to me, more than words can describe, because I love all those guys."
After receiving the news following Thursday's practice - the last practice of preseason camp - each captain had a chance to speak to the team before an upcoming two-day break.
"We told them to get ready," Robinson said, "and that we were honored that they picked us. As Kirk said, everyone needs to be prepared to lead because at some point, everyone is going to have a role where they need to step up."
"One of things we talked about was that we're a special group of people," said Foreman. "We have an amazing group of guys, a close-knit family. I think that's unique here. That's something we need to build off of...To have the opportunity to have that unity council out there, to be able to lead on the field as well, is a great asset to this program. We're just excited."
The team will report back to campus for a workout on Sunday afternoon in preparation for the season opener against Youngstown State on Friday, Sept. 2 at Spartan Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Additional comments from head coach Mark Dantonio
On Kirk Cousins...
"Kirk just has a way with people. Whether it's joking around with them, being serious with them, sending a message at the Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon, or just standing in the locker room talking to somebody, he has a way of being very real and very caring about other people. That's why you see him succeed as a leader. It was a great choice again by our players."
On Trenton Robinson...
"Trenton brings a lot of energy to whatever he does. I think last year he was seen as a leader as well on the defensive side of the ball. He'll be a great captain. He's a very sentimental person and has a lot of enthusiasm. There's a lot to him as a man. This will propel him into great things for the rest of his life - he's a special person."
On Joel Foreman...
"Joel is a very positive person and has battled through adversity - he's a guy who's been there, done that. He's one of the first guys in that first group that came here in 2007, so he's seen it from A to Z, really. I think it's very fitting and very well deserved for him to become a captain in his senior year. He'll do an outstanding job."
On the rotation of the fourth game captain...
"We will have the same process as we did last year (rotating a fourth game captain among the unity council). We vote on the unity council periodically, probably around five or six times a year, so guys have to continue to lead, and if someone emerges as a leader, somebody has to step aside. The unity council is such an important representation of our football team, and they meet with me regularly. I think it's important they all have a voice on Saturdays and have that opportunity to go out to midfield and say, `what am I going to do with this opportunity.' It's a good thing for our team."