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Garrison, Groce and Kelsay Named 2002 Captains

By NU Athletic Communications
(L to R) Chris Kelsay, DeJuan Groce, Frank Solich and John Garrison
(L to R) Chris Kelsay, DeJuan Groce, Frank Solich and John Garrison
Photo by University Communications

Lincoln, Neb. ? Head Coach Frank Solich announced Nebraska?s 2002 captains following a two-hour practice Saturday morning in sweats at Memorial Stadium. Center John Garrison, cornerback and punt returner DeJuan Groce and rush end Chris Kelsay were selected as captains by a vote of the team.

"All three guys had excellent seasons last year and were leaders for us during the offseason," Solich said. "I feel really good about all three of those guys leading this football team."

The Saturday morning workout gave the Huskers a chance to recover from an approximate 100-play scrimmage on Friday.

"We went in sweats today, and we had a few guys with bumps and bruises from the scrimmage," Solich said. "So it gave them a chance to sit out and get some running in. Our guys will take tomorrow off and get some well-deserved rest."

Kelsay is the second member of his family to serve as a Nebraska football captain, joining his brother, Chad, a captain on Solich?s first team in 1998. The Kelsay?s are the fifth brother combination in school history to serve as team captains, joining Mike (1983) and Andy Keeler (1988), Erik (1991) and Zach Wiegert (1994), Christian (1995) and Jason Peter (1997) and Grant (1997) and Tracey Wistrom (2001).

A native of Auburn, Neb., Kelsay has started 21 consecutive games at left rush end. As a junior in 2001, Kelsay captured second-team All-America honors from Football News after recording 52 tackles, including 17 tackles for loss and five sacks.

Garrison, a native of Blue Springs, Mo., is one of two returning starters along the Husker offensive front, while also handling the long snapping duties. He has played in every game since his freshman season in 1999. Garrison was one of the top performers on the offensive line that led the Huskers to their 15th NCAA rushing title by averaging 314.7 yards per game on the ground in 2001. He also earned honorable-mention All-Big 12 honors from the Associated Press, after recording the ninth-best single-season pancake total in school history with 125 knock-down blocks.

Groce, a Garfield Heights, Ohio native, has served as NU?s right cornerback the past two seasons and proved to be a threat returning punts as well. His 17 pass breakups in 2000 is the best single-season mark in school history, while his 14 in 2001 are tied for third all time. As the No. 1 punt returner, Groce racked up 469 yards on 33 returns, the third-best total in school history in 2001.

"All of these guys had excellent seasons last year," Solich said. "Even though they weren?t captains last year as underclassmen, they also were leaders last year and that carried over into the offseason. The players appreciate the work ethic of those three, and what they get done in the offseason."

Solich also announced that backup I-back Robin Miller underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Saturday morning. He injured the knee in the Huskers? first scrimmage. He tried to return to the field on Friday for the final scrimmage but was unable to continue. Miller is expected to miss four to six weeks.

Nebraska will take Sunday off before returning to the practice field on Monday at noon for regular game-week preparations.

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