Banks, Lawrence, Smith named team captains

Three seniors, three starters, three small, Mississippi home towns and three new captains for Mississippi State football.

Selected by a vote of the players, All-American cornerback Johnthan Banks, All-SEC linebacker Cam Lawrence and right guard Tobias Smith have been named the three team captains for the Bulldogs this season.

The actual duties are few, mostly involving the shaking of hands and selecting of heads or tails before the game.

But the honor is symbolic of what the players do on the field and in the locker room, as well as what they mean to their team.

In particular, it says much about Smith, who missed the majority of last season with a knee injury. Smith is the only senior starter on the offensive line and is one of the more personable guys on the team.

Offensive line coach John Hevesy talked about him a couple weeks ago, saying that while Smith is needed on the field, he will be missed the most in the locker room when he leaves.

Hevesy referred to him as the heart and soul of the team, a clear leader and a strong influence on the locker room.

That’s not to say, of course, that we should be surprised by Banks and Lawrence, either.

Banks has said that one of his main goals in returning to MSU for his final season was to work on his leadership skills and do everything he can to help the young guys on the team. He was more vocal than ever with his teammates this spring and fall, and it appears his goal of leading has been accomplished.

It also seems Lawrence, like Smith, means more to the coaches than pure physical ability. Linebackers coach Geoff Collins has called him a coach on the field, saying Lawrence seems to know what offenses are doing before it’s coming, giving both himself and his defense a split-second edge.

The best news: Lawrence, Banks and Smith are three days away from stepping to midfield for the coin toss with Jackson State.

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