Five members of the Class of 2018 and one from the Class of 2019 make up the captain list for the 2017 Manchester University football team. The honorees were introduced over @MU_SpartanFB Twitter Monday, May 17.
Coach Nate Jensen and his staff named senior wide receiver Dakota Nelson (Fairland, Ind.); senior wide receiver Bailey Partington (Lapel, Ind.); senior linebacker Mitch Oskam (St. John, Ind.); senior linebacker Jack Kay (Williamsport, Ind.); senior offensive lineman Eric Beard (Findlay, Ohio); and junior offensive lineman Brady Nyland (Avon, Ind.) as the group leading the Spartans on and off the gridiron. "It was a diligent process," Jensen noted. "We see the captains' roles in the program as the most important that our athletes can hold, so everyone who wanted to do so had to submit a cover letter, resume and references as well as go through an interview and so on. Our coaching staff felt (the process) gave them a 'real world' glimpse of how it will be when they want to go into their career. They cannot just be named to a job, and this is no different. We were looking for men of conviction and integrity, and we feel we have a group that will continue to take this program where we want it to go."
Nelson looks to return to his high-flying play as a wide out and in special teams after compiling just under 2000 yards and 14 touchdowns receiving and better than 2000 yards in kickoff and punt returns combined to go along with seven scores over his first three seasons. Partington has been an off-and-on fixture for the offense, too, playing in 11 games as a sophomore and junior with an average of nearly nine yards per catch. Beard and Nyland are among the leaders along the offensive front for Manchester University, each appearing in 16 contests over the past two years. Kay and Oskam have shown to be a force to be reckoned with for opposing offenses, as Kay averaged almost 10 tackles a game and was only three shy of 100 as a junior, and Oskam is a three-year starter who's registered 110 tackles with 10.5 coming for losses and two sacks in 27 games.
The Black and Gold open the season Thursday, Aug. 31, traveling to Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association and in-state rival Trine University.