It is not uncommon for the starting quarterback to be named a captain. Tanner Lee was named a Nebraska captain last week along with Jerald Foster, Luke McNitt, Chris Weber and Joshua Kalu. That’s generally a good sign that leadership is coming from what many consider to be the most important position in sports.
It is uncommon, however, to have a quarterback who has never taken a snap in a game be voted to that spot by what Mike Riley called a “large majority of votes.”
“It was not surprising to me that Tanner Lee got voted captain because of his entry a year ago,” Riley said. “I’ve said this before, he came in as one of the guys, well-liked by everybody, and soon when they learned about him, he was well-respected by everybody. He was elected a captain of one of our offseason teams, so him being selected a captain for this season did not surprise me.
“He’s got a very confident but relatively humble way of being. He just does his business. I think the players look up to him.”
When you are the transfer quarterback being groomed for the position – all while being labeled as the head coach’s “type” of quarterback — you have to navigate the locker room carefully. Lee has been able to do that well, leading by example, too. Riley said that was apparent in how Lee prepared, even if it was to lead the scout team offense a year ago.
“I think the confidence [in him] built within our team,” Riley said. “Not only about how he’s played but they thought enough about him to elect him as a captain by a large majority of the votes.
“That’s a good sign, all of those things are a good sign, but again the proof is in the pudding and how we play.“
Lee says that being named a captain is one of the coolest experiences of his life so far and extremely humbling. He made sure to mention how nice it was to see how much it meant to the Nebraskans who were elected captains of the team.
It’s almost as if he’s done this before. Wait, he has. Lee says this isn’t his first rodeo as a captain. It's not the first time he's earned the honor before officially playing a game either.
“I was a team captain for the two years I played at Tulane,” he said. “The role that comes with it is a ‘first in, last out’ kind of attitude. Making everyone around you better in any way that you can. Pulling guys along, helping younger guys. When things get tough, steer the ship and when things go right don’t let anyone get too high or too low.”
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.