Michigan football fans were mildly surprised when senior defensive end Chase Winovich wasn’t selected as a captain following a team vote over the weekend.
Winovich returned after a season in which he could have turned pro. He had 79 tackles, 18.5 TFLs, eight sacks, six quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles. He’s good with the media, and is quite vocal on the field, the kind of guy teams vote captain all the time.
He made it clear during media availability on Tuesday that he would have appreciated the honor, but he has bigger goals.
“That one stung a little bit, but at the end of the day, when you think about it, I came back to win a national championship–I didn’t come back to win a popularity contest,” Winovich said. “My role as a leader is still the same.”
It probably wasn’t an easy decision for the Wolverine defense to vote its senior captain, safety Tyree Kinnel. Rarely does a college football team have so much experienced, upper-class talent. Seniors Bryan Mone, Noah Furbush and Tyree Kinnel have had significant playing time over their career, plus there are juniors Rashan Gary (you may have heard of him), Khaleke Hudson, Devin Bush, Lavert Hill and Josh Metellus. Spread these upperclassmen around college football and you’re probably looking at six or seven captains.
Kinnel and Bush were chosen on the defensive side of the ball and it makes sense. Pre-snap, Kinnel at safety and Bush at linebacker can see more of the field than a d-lineman, and therefore end up having to be the main communicators.
Now Winovich can fully focus on terrorizing opposing quarterbacks and stealing sacks from Gary.
“I woke up that day (of the vote) and was not the captain,” Winovich said. “I woke up the next day– (still) was not the captain. So, at the end of the day, it’s out of my hands, and I’m moving on.”
Winovich will get his first shot at a quarterback this season on Saturday when Michigan plays at Notre Dame at 7:30 p.m.