Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Sam Mustipher Goes From Starter To Captain and GM of the Year

March 7, 2018

Notre Dame has had many offensive line captains over the past few years, including Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson a year ago. 

Sam Mustipher will continue the tradition as the senior center was named one of three captains.

“It’s a blessing and a privilege to be voted by your peers to be a leader of this great football team at this great University,” stated Mustipher. “To be part of the prestigious group of Notre Dame captains and the guys that came well before me, it means to world to me.”

Mustipher hadn’t told his parents of the news when he spoke after Tuesday’s practice, but he imagined they would be pretty proud of him.

“It will be great,” Mustipher said. “I can’t imagine. They made tons of sacrifices in my life and my little brother’s life as well. They deserve it.” 

Being a captain might not have been a goal for Mustipher, but he knew he wanted to leave a legacy when he committed to Notre Dame on April 15th of 2013.

“Five years ago, I didn’t really know much of what was going to happen at Notre Dame,” Mustipher said. “I knew I wanted to come here and make a positive contribution to this program and University in any way I could. 

“Being a captain at a school like this, it’s unbelievable. I’m just lucky to be here. I can’t wait to lead this team.” 

The Owings Mills (Md.) native got a taste of leadership a year ago as head coach Brian Kelly created S.W.A.T. (Summer Winter Accountability Teams) for offseason workouts and most importantly competition. 

“Last year I was part of the Nyles Morgan team in the spring and the Austin Webster team in the summer and fall,” explained Mustipher. “I learned how to lead a group, and I was second in command in both situations.”

Mustipher might have learned about leadership last year, he also was proving he could be one of the nation’s top centers.

2016 was a growing experience for everyone associated with the Notre Dame program, including Mustipher as he took some heat for a few snaps during his first season as a starter.

“It speaks to the resilience you build at Notre Dame,” Mustipher said of going through some adversity. “This place is hard. It’s hard academically and athletically. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not left to the weak, timid or non-committed. It’s something Coach (Jeff) Quinn tells us every day. Coach Kelly instills that in us. 

“At the time, I was down, and it hurt. I just kept my nose to the grindstone and kept chipping away at the goals I had set for myself.” 

Rick Kimball/ISD
Mike McGlinchey and Sam Mustipher

Mustipher will now turn his attention to spring ball and the new-look Notre Dame offensive line room. Harry Hiestand left for the NFL. Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson are also gone. 

“It’s definitely a different feel in the room,” stated Mustipher. “Guys are gone and Coach Hiestand moved on to Chicago, but the standard of excellence and tradition at Notre Dame is going to stay the same. 

“The guys understand that, and they work hard. You see guys like Mike and Q back today. They are coaching and teaching the guys whatever they can. It will always be that way as long as we are here.” 

Quinn enters as the offensive line coach, and it was a guy that impressed Mustipher during the interview process. 

“He brings a motivational energy to the offensive line room,” explained Mustipher. “He understands the way the standard needs to be set. Going through the interview process and sit in on the meetings, which Coach Kelly gave us the privilege to do. 

“We understand the standard of excellence. We wanted a guy that wanted to be here, and it meant a lot to be here. He’s going to coach us to the best of his ability and coach us 110 percent every day.” 

Mustipher is already off to a good start to be a captain as he feels very confident in his ability to draft a top-notch S.W.A.T. roster, which includes sophomore quarterback Avery Davis. 

“I chose Avery to be part of my S.WA.T. team,” Mustipher stated. “We had a little draft. Brandon and Ian were already taken, so I chose Avery Davis. I knew how athletic he was, so it’s not a shock to me. 

“I think of myself of GM of the Year in regards to S.W.A.T. teams. Seeing Avery doing all those things doesn’t come as a shock. He’s a heckuva athlete, and with his ability to throw, run and catch the ball, I can see him playing anywhere.”

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