Northwestern hosted its eighth annual meet the team night on Friday. They served $1 hot dogs and drinks, were greeted by Pat Fitzgerald, learned the 2013 captains and were able to mingle with the players.
A few thousands fans showed up at Ryan Field as the amount seems to increase each year. With 17 starters returnings coming off a 10-3 season, there is a lot of anticipation for NU's upcoming season.
Part of the Friday night festivities were kicked off by Pat Fitzgerald addressing the crowd and announcing his 2013 captains. The captains for this season are quarterback Kain Colter, wide receiver Rashad Lawrence, linebacker Damien Proby, defensive end Tyler Scott and center Brandon Vitabile. All but Vitabile are seniors. Colter will be a captain for the second year in a row.
Colter and Vitabile are a handful of NU players on pre-season award watch lists. Colter is on the Manning award watch list and Vitabile the Rimington List.
Scott's nine sacks lead the returnees in the Big Ten. Proby led Northwestern with 112 tackles last season. Lawrence's 33 receptions were second on the team last year.
In addition to Fitzgerald addressing the fans, NU public address announcer Gary Ross also spoke. He explained the events of the evening and what could and could not be done under NCAA regulations. They specified that all autographs must be personalized now. They referenced the Johnny Manziel autograph scandal without mentioning him by name.
Other festivities of the night included fans being able to take to the Ryan field turf, race players and attempt field goals.
The night also included several giveaways and a chance to buy Northwestern merchandise. It's a great way for Northwestern to kick off the season.