Leadership amongst the players is imperative for a football team to be successful. With so many players on the team, there has to be a handful of them that organize, inspire, motivate and make sure all players are pulling in the same direction.
Just because you're a great player or a 5-star recruit doesn't make you a team captain.
Respect has to be earned to lead, and one of the many qualities of earning respect is maturity. In this piece, I want to give you 12 recruits who I feel display certain qualities of potentially gaining respect on their college teams and developing into team leaders and captains.
Foster is known as a very hard worker who is dedicated to his craft. I think he is more mature than the average 17-year-old due to him being a father. He also plays a position that requires leadership as one of its main traits as middle linebacker.
I expect him to become a cornerstone and pillar player for Auburn, earning captaincy before he leaves The Plains.
Commitment: Notre Dame
Throughout this cycle, I've noticed Zaire display some leadership qualities.
He's a Notre Dame kind of guy through and through, and even though quarterback may not be where he makes his mark on the Irish team, I think he will be a captain one day.
Zaire has helped organize visits, worked the phones recruiting uncommitted prospects for Notre Dame and makes as many visits to the school as he can.
McQuay has really been one of the main recruits who has really done extensive research on all of his top schools. His parents have been a huge help to him during the process, and he will make a well-informed decision, likely next month.
McQuay has good maturity and is also known as a smart player on the field. I can easily see him becoming a team captain before he graduates, wherever he goes.
Olsen is one of the top quarterback prospects in the country and comes from New Jersey. He shows captain potential not just because he's a field general, but also because he has command of his huddle and is a very poised player on the field.
With him being such a calming influence on the field and headed to Miami as the "quarterback of the future," it's almost certain he will become a team leader. Look for Olsen to be a multi-year captain in Coral Gables.
Commitment: Penn State
When the news broke about the Penn State sanctions, Breneman never wavered. He's also helped recruit other prospects to Happy Valley for the Nittany Lion program.
Breneman is from Pennsylvania, grew up watching PSU football and bleeds the blue and white. I definitely feel he will be one of the main leaders and best players to help get Penn State through these tough times.
Due to the stacked defensive back depth chart, it may be a bit tough for Hargreaves to earn a starting role as a true freshman. However, I still feel he is just too smart, instinctive, talented and technically sound not have an early impact.
Once the incumbent secondary players in Gainesville are gone, Dan Quinn's back end will be Hargreaves' to lead. He is a smart individual who also has a mature feel to his personality.
Alviti is going to be beloved at Northwestern because he is a tough, gutsy and gritty quarterback. He has some Brett Favre and Tim Tebow traits to his game, and we all know how much those two are idolized. There is no question in mind that Alviti has team captain potential.
Conner is a 6'1", 200-pound safety who has great competitiveness. It's a trait that I really notice when I watch tape on him, and he does whatever his team needs him to do to win.
Conner plays for South Panola High School, which is a powerhouse program in Mississippi. Aside from playing safety, Conner also plays running back and will tote the rock to make big plays for his football team.
His uber-competitive trait will rub off well on those around him in college, thus earning him respect enough to lead.
Commitment: Ohio State
Woodard is a very smart player who plays with great discipline and instincts. He understands his assignments and also knows what everyone else around him is supposed to be doing.
With his 6'0", 185-pound frame and heady traits, I think he can come in and get playing as a true freshman for Urban Meyer. After a few seasons, due to all of his experience, talent and intelligence, Woodard will be a Buckeye captain.
The son of Fred Taylor, Kelvin was born to be a running back for the Gators. He is one the most productive high school football players the United States has ever had.
As the state of Florida's all-time leading rusher, Taylor is 100% locked into his Gator commitment and understands that losing is not acceptable in Gainesville. I expect him to be one of the main players preaching that message to his teammates, and Taylor has the talent that will give him the credibility to be listened to.
Browne is already said to be a fantastic leader and captain for Skyline High School, which is close to Seattle. The 6'5", 214-pound USC commit has also already become the leader of the Trojans' 2013 class, with many of the commits flocking to him at The Opening this summer.
Browne has helped USC recruit by contacting targeted prospects himself and is on track to graduate early to compete for the job to replace Matt Barkley after this season. Even if he doesn't win the job as a true freshman, I still expect him to have a fantastic Trojan career and end it as a team captain.
If Morris isn't a team captain in Ann Arbor at least once, then I will be very shocked. He's the future face of Michigan Wolverines football and is already a celebrity around the state.
Morris also happens to be on of the best QB prospects in the country and also a great recruiter himself. He's shown leadership qualities by vastly aiding Brady Hoke's staff in recruiting prospects and is very charismatic.
Morris definitely will be a Wolverine captain soon enough.
Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects & writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.