Nebraska announced Monday that five seniors have been selected as captains for the 2014 season.
The group includes three offensive players in I-back Ameer Abdullah, receiver Kenny Bell and offensive guard Jake Cotton. The defense is represented by cornerback Josh Mitchell and safety Corey Cooper.
The players come from five different states including Nebraska (Cotton), Alabama (Abdullah), Colorado (Bell), Illinois (Cooper) and California (Mitchell). Cooper and Cotton have already earned their undergraduate degrees, while Abdullah, Bell and Mitchell are all on track to graduate this December.
This marks the second consecutive season Nebraska has elected season-long captains after choosing game captains during Bo Pelini’s first five seasons as head coach.
Last season, Nebraska selected four captains prior to the season and added two captains at season’s end, including Abdullah, who now joins a rare list of two-time Husker team captains. Abdullah is just the eighth player in school history to be a captain for two seasons, including five under Pelini.
Others on the list include Taylor Martinez, Rex Burkhead, Brett Maher and Alex Henery in recent years. Prior to Henery in 2009 and 2010, the most recent two-time captain was Ed Weir in 1924-25, while the first two-time captains were James H. Johnson in 1891-92 and John Westover in 1901-02.
Cotton’s selection as a captain marks the ninth straight year a native Nebraskan has been named a team captain, including five Lincoln natives in the group. Cotton is the only returning starter on the offensive line for the 2014 season and is set to line up at left guard for the Huskers for the second straight year.
A fifth-year senior, Bell is in position to become the first player in school history to lead Nebraska in receptions for four straight seasons. He could also become Nebraska’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards this season. Bell’s selection marks the second straight year a receiver has been elected a captain, joining Quincy Enunwa last season.
The defense is represented by a pair of fifth-year senior defensive backs in Cooper and Mitchell. Cooper, a native of Maywood, Ill., has started 17 games over the past two seasons and is Nebraska’s leading returning tackler. A California native, Mitchell has started 15 games during his Nebraska career and has been a contributor in the secondary and on special teams each of the three previous seasons.
Mitchell and Cooper mark the first pair of captains from the same position group since defensive linemen Zach Potter and Ty Steinkuhler were team captains in 2008. The last time two defensive backs were selected as captains in the same year came in 1999, when Mike Brown and Ralph Brown both served as team captains.