Football Announces 2021 Team Captains
Head coach Jeff Monken announced the four team captains for the 2021 season in firstie defensive lineman Nolan Cockrill, firstie defensive back Cedrick Cunningham, firstie linebacker Arik Smith and cow defensive back Marquel Broughton. The No. 1 overall defense in all of FBS in 2020, the Black Knights tabbed four players from the defensive side of the ball to represent as captains in 2021.
Cockrill was an anchor for the Black Knights in 2020 on the defensive line and is poised to have an even bigger breakout season in 2021. He finished 2020 with 28 tackles, 7.0 TFL and 2.5 sacks. He led the team with four QB hurries and collected two pass breakups and one forced fumble. For his efforts in 2020, Cockrill was named a Phil Steele All-Independent First Team honoree.
Cunningham, a rising firstie in 2021, finished third on the team with 70 total tackles in 2020, with 37 solo and 33 assists. He tallied 8.0 TFL and 2.0 sacks with three pass break ups and one interception. Cunningham earned All-Independent First Team honors in 2020.
A rising firstie, Smith was tied for the team lead in total tackles (78) in 2020 and led the team with 3.5 sacks. He tallied 9.0 TFL and hauled in one interception en route to being named a Phil Steele All-Independent First Team selection.
Broughton is the lone cow to be named a captain in 2021 and the first since Cole Christiansen earned the honor in 2018. Overall, Broughton is just the third junior captain for the Black Knights since 2015, joining Christiansen in 2018 and Jeremy Timpf in 2015. Broughton finished fourth on the team in 2020 with 67 total tackles but led the team with 40 solo tackles. He also had two interceptions, three pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
The Black Knights will open up the 2021 season on Saturday, September 4 at 12pm ET at Georgia State on ESPNU.