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Utah Utes football: Captain selections 'honored' to lead team

Published: Sunday, Aug. 21 2011 9:22 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Jordan Wynn is more than just Utah's starting quarterback. The junior is also a team captain, one of six elected to represent the Utes this season.

"I think it's a big deal," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "The quarterback position, by nature, is a position of leadership, obviously. So it's a big plus if your football team views that guy as a leader as well."

Based on the vote, Whittingham added, Wynn certainly has the respect of his teammates. So, too, do the five other duly elected leaders — offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom, wide receiver Luke Matthews, defensive lineman Star Lotuleili, as well as linebackers Matt Martinez and Chaz Walker.

"It's a huge deal to get voted by your teammates. To be a captain is a huge deal," Wynn said. "It's a great honor. I'm so excited about it. Now I've just got to continue to grow with that role."

Whittingham recently let the captains know that they're in charge of the football team as far as governing from within. They're expected to make sure things get done the right way and make sure that everyone continues to do the things they need to do to head in the right direction and not have any issues.

"Basically the whole captain thing is just an official way of saying it's your responsibility to make sure everybody gets it," Bergstrom said.

The leadership team represents what Whittingham considers a "good cross section" and a fairly even one at that — three seniors, three juniors and three players from the offense, three from the defense. In addition, there's a blend of linemen and skill guys.

"I think it represents our team very well," Whittingham said. "I thought the players did a great job with their selections."

The juniors include Wynn, Matthews and Lotuleli.

"It means a lot," said Lotulelei. "It means a lot to have the respect of my teammates. It's cool."

Lotulelei vows to be more vocal and set an example for his teammates.

Matthews said it's a huge honor to follow in the footsteps of players who have been captains and led him in his career at Utah.

"It lets me know that the team is looking at me as a leader, like looking for me to help them win when we're out there on the field and also just in practice and stuff," he noted.

The three seniors also appreciate the support of their teammates, who identified them as leaders.

As a sixth-year senior, Martinez is especially grateful for the recognition.

"It's just real heart-opening and I love that," he said. "I look forward to leading this team."

Walker has similar thoughts.

"It's nice to see that my teammates respect me enough to appoint me to that position," he said while expressing plans to take a bigger leadership role. "It's great. It's crazy. I never thought it would happen, but it's nice to have the captainship."

Bergstrom, though, notes that it'll take more than just captains to lead the way. He feels like everybody has leadership responsibilities and roles to play.

"I feel like we've been guys who have been around the program, who know what to do and how to get things done. So people look to us to do that," Bergstom explained. "The title of captain is just that, it's just a title. Just because I'm a captain doesn't mean somebody else isn't a leader, too."

Season opener

Montana State at Utah

Thursday, Sept. 1

TV: KJZZ

Radio: 700AM

Email: dirk@desnews.com. Twitter: DirkFacer

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