January 20, 2020
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UMaine senior has only missed eight minutes of practice. Now, he’s a team captain.

Courtesy of Aaron Malmoe
Courtesy of Aaron Malmoe
Jaquan Blair (11) of the University of Maine is swarmed by Eastern Washington tacklers, including Calin Criner (left) and Nzuzi Webster (6) during the FCS semifinal game in Cheney, Washington, in this Dec. 15, 2018, file photo.

Jaquan Blair was sitting on Morse Field in Orono with his head in his hands following Wednesday’s scrimmage.

It was an emotional moment for the University of Maine senior wide receiver, who had just learned he was named one of four Bear football captains.

“Yeah, it was emotional,” Blair said. “I came a long way from my freshman year to now, with everything I’ve been through. It just means a lot to me knowing that my teammates think so highly of me.

“It’s definitely humbling and a surreal feeling to he chosen to represent this great team,” he said.

Blair was voted a co-captain along with junior quarterback Chris Ferguson, senior defensive end Kayon Whitaker and junior linebacker Deshawn Stevens.

“They are great young men. They work really hard,” UMaine head coach Nick Charlton said. “They are great players. I’m very proud of them.”

Charlton said Blair has had to deal with some issues in his home life and he has endured them with him.

“He’s a special kid. He has missed just eight minutes of practice in five years,” said Charlton, who stressed how rare it is for a football player to miss so little time.

Ferguson said the four captains should be able to handle the needs of the team.

“With Quan and me on the offense and Kayon and Deshawn on the defense, that’s a really good corps there,” Ferguson said.

“I couldn’t be happier with the people I have [to share the captaincy with me],” Stevens said.

Stevens said being named a captain is a blessing and an honor.

“It means the world to me,” he said. “When I came here a few years ago, I never anticipated this happening. Being entrusted with this responsibility is something I take very seriously.”

Whitaker said he will take pride in everything he does on and off the field and lead by example. He likes the fact there are two junior captains who will be able to lead the team again next season.

Whitaker and Stevens have been chosen HERO Sports Football Championship Subdivision preseason All-Americans after earning All-Colonial Athletic Association honors last fall.

Whitaker, from Washington, D.C., was an All-CAA first-team selection and was a second-team All-ECAC choice after making 50 tackles and sharing the team lead in sacks last year (9.5). Stevens, a native of Toronto, was an All-CAA second-team pick and led the team with 120 tackles, including 17 for a loss of yardage, nine of which were sacks.

Ferguson, a native of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, is in his third season at quarterback. He completed 209 of 371 passes (56.3 percent) last season for 2,372 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Blair of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was the Black Bears’ No. 4 receiver with 43 catches good for 572 yards and five TDs.

UMaine the defending CAA champion and a Football Championship Subdivision semifinalist for the first time in program history last season, hosts Sacred Heart to open the season Friday, Aug. 30.

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