The captains of the Pitt football team were named Friday during the Panthers’ annual kickoff luncheon, with two representatives selected from the defense and one from the offense. From the defense, defensive back Dennis Briggs and linebacker Quintin Wirginis were chosen as team leaders, while offensive lineman Alex Bookser was bestowed with the honor on offense.
Each of the representatives selected at the luncheon is a senior from the Pittsburgh area.
Your 2018 Captains. #H2P #LockTheGates pic.twitter.com/Sj4LzBVU38— Pat Narduzzi (@CoachDuzzPittFB) August 24, 2018
Bookser, a product of Mt. Lebanon High School, has established himself as an offensive leader, and as such, he was chosen to represent Pitt alongside head coach Pat Narduzzi and linebacker Seun Idowu at the 2018 ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte, North Carolina, in July. He figures to play a vital role in protecting emerging star quarterback Kenny Pickett this year.
Briggs, who came to Pitt from Shady Side Academy, was selected as a captain for the second year in a row. He’s seen extensive action at safety and played in 38 of a possible 38 games over the last three seasons after redshirting during his freshman year in 2014. While Briggs is not quite a ball hawk, having snagged his only pick last season, he’s been praised for his maturity.
Third and final captain — Dennis Briggs. Narduzzi called him the most mature player he’s “ever, ever” coached— Jerry DiPaola (@JDiPaola_Trib) August 24, 2018
Wirginis joined Pitt from Fox Chapel High School in 2014 and saw action in all 38 of Pitt’s games during his first three seasons. However, he was suspended to start the 2017 season and suffered a non-football-related injury that ended up keeping him out for the season. Now, after a redshirt year, Wirginis is back and expected to give a major boost to Pitt’s linebacking corps.
While Wirginis is certainly a worthy selection, given his extensive experience with the team, it’s also somewhat surprising that he leapfrogged Idowu from within his own position group, as the North Allegheny High School product emerged as a defensive leader for Pitt in 2017. Idowu led the team in total tackles, with 94; tackles for loss, with 11.5; and sacks, with five last season.
A fourth captain was not named, as the three current captains will select another senior leader to join them for the coin toss before each game this season.