ASU football names its captains as the team fully transitions into game mode

ASU football players voted Thursday for four of their peers to be captains this season

ASU football chose its captains for the upcoming season Thursday, and with its official leadership in place, the team can further transition into game mode. 

“We voted for team captains,” head coach Herm Edwards said.  “It was a team vote, not a coaches’ vote.”

This year's captains are redshirt senior quarterback Manny Wilkins and junior offensive lineman Cohl Cabral for offense, as well as redshirt senior defensive lineman Renell Wren and senior defensive back Demonte King for defense.

“Being recognized by your peers as a guy who can step up and be a leader, and take accountability for all of the younger guys and make sure everyone is doing the right thing,” Cabral said. “It’s a special thing, and I’m honored to do it.”

As for Wilkins, he feels honored as well. However, being captain and having the additional responsibilities that come with the position is something he wants and expects for himself. 

“It’s a great honor to be named captain of a football team,” Wilkins said. “I expect those types of things. I expect greatness, but I’m really happy that my peers voted me to be captain of the team.”

Wilkins and Cabral have been leading the team through practices dating back to last spring, and they have continued to lead during fall camp. The two players assumed they earned the official captaincy through their work ethic.

“It’s just buying in,” Cabral said. “Doing what the coaches are telling you is not really doing extra, it’s doing extra on your own so they can see what it takes to be able to play. A lot of guys think they’re going to come in and play, but then reality hits you and you’ve got to put in the work first before you do it.”

The coaches notice this as well, and that is why the coaching staff is pleased with the choices the team made regarding this year's captain positions. 

“The reason they were chosen is that they both came into this year really not worried about making friends as much as they were about being leaders and winning,” offensive coordinator Rob Likens said. “That’s what a leader should do. If you’re worried about the praise of men, sooner or later you’re going to fail as a leader.” 

Likens works primarily with Wilkins and Cabral, and he has seen firsthand what those two are capable of when it comes to bettering themselves as players and taking accountability for what they do as individuals. 

“Those two guys are not afraid to be criticized, not afraid to step out from among their peers and give their voice and try to get guys motivated,” Likens said. 

On Friday, the captains will get their first run-through of a game situation when the team does a mock game to make some final tweaks before the team's home opener next Saturday against UTSA. 

“You’ve got to treat every situation like it’s a game and let these guys know the importance of it. It’s just all about keeping everybody level headed,” Wilkins said. “Not getting too high, where we make ourselves be undisciplined and when we have some adversity strike. … We’re in full game plan mode now so we’re just getting ready to go against UTSA.”

Reach the reporter at or follow @paige_burnell on Twitter.   

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