SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh, his coaching staff and his players have selected a group of six players — five seniors and a junior — to serve as team captains for the 2017 football season.
Senior fullback Joe Protheroe and center Joey Kuperman, both All-Big Sky Conference first-team selections a year ago, Protheroe for the second time, head the sixsome.
Junior quarterback Khaleel Jenkins rounds out the trio of offensive team captains.
Defensive team captains include tackle Augustino Elisaia and linebackers R.J. Mazolewski and Charlie Davis.
Protheroe, an All-Big Sky Conference Preseason Team member for the second straight year, is a two-time STATS FCS All-American. He rushed for 1,334 yards and 13 touchdowns last year and enters his final season as a Mustang with 2,297 career rushing yards, No. 8 on the university's all-time career rushing chart.
Protheroe was the Big Sky's top rusher last fall and No. 9 in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Kuperman was part of an offensive line that helped Cal Poly finish No. 1 in the Football Championship Subdivision in team rushing for the fourth straight year last fall. Cal Poly also was No. 5 in sacks allowed and No. 7 in time of possession.
Playing in the shadow of Chris Brown in 2015 and Dano Graves in 2016, Jenkins is poised to assume a leadership role as Cal Poly's starting quarterback this fall. He played in five games in a reserve role last year and three games, including one start, in 2015.
Elisaia earned 18 tackles (nine solo) in 12 games a year ago, including 4.5 for lost yardage and 1.5 sacks. He also broke up a pass, forced a fumble and blocked a kick.
Both Davis and Mazolewski missed most of the 2016 season with injuries. In three games, both players earned six tackles. Davis also was credited with one quarterback hurry while Mazolewski made 1.5 tackles for lost yardage.
Davis, who was a senior last year, was granted a medical redshirt while Mazolewski is moving from outside to middle linebacker this fall.
Cal Poly opens its 2017 season Saturday, August 26, with a nationally televised (ESPNU) Week Zero non-conference game against Colgate. Kickoff inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium is set for 4:05 p.m.