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Former Michigan football captains continue to make big impact

Former Michigan football captains continue to make a huge impact in Ann Arbor!



Michigan football captains, Aidan Hutchinson, Mazi Smith, Kris Jenkins

Over the years, there have been a number of impressive Michigan football captains; over the past two seasons, the Wolverines have had better leadership than the program has seen in quite some time. Last week, Kris Jenkins — who was just named a captain of the 2023 team — outlined two particular captains that had a huge impact on him throughout his college career. According to Jenkins, Aidan Hutchinson and Mazi Smith had a major influence on his career, and continue to have a great impact on the program’s culture.

Former Michigan football captains continue to make a difference

Over the past two seasons, Michigan football has won back-to-back Big Ten titles and appeared in the College Football Playoff twice. A major reason for the program’s recent success has been the team’s leadership; between the coaching staff and the captains, Michigan has been in good hands.

In 2021, Aidan Hutchinson took control of his squad, helping lead the way to a 12-2 finish with a Big Ten title and CFP berth. Mazi Smith did the same last year; however, this time, Michigan football finished 13-1 with the same accolades. Now, Kris Jenkins is looking for even better results during his time as a captain in 2023, taking into account the lessons he has learned from previous Michigan football captains.

Kris Jenkins praises Aidan Hutchinson, Mazi Smith

“Definitely,” Kris Jenkins said when asked about any former Michigan football captains that had an impact on him leading up to his time as a captain in the Maize and Blue. “If I had to name two, it would definitely be Hutch (Aidan Hutchinson) and (Mazi Smith), mainly because their biggest mantra and their biggest motto was not just being vocal leaders but practicing what they preach. They were the biggest advocates of not just being the first person to speak up, but also being the first person to do what they say.

“That really stuck with me because the last thing I would want to be as a leader is the first guy to talk and the last guy to do what they say,” he continued. “I just want to practice what I preach and be able to lead by example and hopefully get the guys’ trust.”

Aidan Hutchinson and Mazi Smith may no longer be with the Michigan football program, but their impact on current captains like Kris Jenkins and others remains a difference-maker in Ann Arbor.

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CJ has covered college athletics in paid roles for around five years, including numerous sports and beats. His most recent work revolves largely around Penn State and Michigan football and basketball. Right now, CJ is the publisher of Blue by Ninety, where he also serves as the site's credentialed football reporter. Previously, CJ has made stops with Fansided, The Michigan Daily, and more.