Missouri selected its four permanent captains for the 2014 season Monday before the inaugural practice of preseason training camp at Memorial Stadium.
In a vote by the players, senior defensive end Markus Golden, senior left tackle Mitch Morse, senior wide receiver Bud Sasser and senior strong safety Braylon Webb were picked for the honor.
“I can safely say, I never expected to be captain,” Morse said. “Of course, it’s in the back of your mind and guys were saying, ‘Oh, Mitch, I’m voting for you for captain.’ It really didn’t matter to me if I was a captain or not as long as I was able to help my team out, but it was an honor and a privilege and a complete blessing to see the guys that I really, truly do love have — not respect me, but have faith in me to be a face for the program and spokesman for them.”
The honor wasn’t quite as surprising for Webb, who is one of two returning three-year starters along with defensive tackle Matt Hoch.
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“Out of the group that was presented, all the seniors or whatever, I felt like I was a front-runner for the defense,” Webb said.
Still, he called it “a blessing and an honor and a privilege to be voted captain.”
Meanwhile, Sasser was all smiles when asked about his election.
“I always thought it would be pretty cool to do, but I owe it to the receivers who helped me become who I am today,” Sasser said.
He specifically mentioned Jerrell Jackson, T.J. Moe, L’Damian Washington.
“They’re all different, but I just tried to take something from each of those guys and also bring what I have myself to the table,” Sasser said.
Tigers coach Gary Pinkel shared some advice he offered to the quartet after informing them of their new status.
“It’s the greatest honor, because you’re voted by your teammates, but the first thing I said to them is, ‘No. 1, you’ve got to keep your job. … The second thing, the greatest form of leadership you can do is to play well.”
Golden has appeared in 26 games during the last two seasons. He finished with 55 tackles, including 13 for a loss and 6 1/2 sacks, as a junior.
Morse is switching from the Tigers’ starting right tackle to left tackle, replacing Seahawks second-round pick Justin Britt.
Sasser has appeared in 35 games, including 15 starts. He has 39 catches for 608 yards and two touchdowns — including career-highs for receptions (26), yards (361) and touchdowns (one) last season.
Finally, Webb is a two-year starter at safety and finished second for Missouri in tackles last season (89). He also had three interceptions as a junior.
“All four are really great kids, great leaders,” Pinkel said. “I always tell our players, when they decide on leadership is ask yourself, ‘Who do you think can lead when things get tough?’ because when things are easy, anybody can lead.”