There is no better way to make a statement about your goals than by naming a player with the last name “Champion” as your leader.

Just a few days after the close of its most successful season since 2007, the Yale football team has already turned the page towards the future by electing defensive back Cole Champion ’16 to captain the 2015 squad.

Champion, a Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. native, has started every game for the Bulldogs since week four of his freshman campaign and will enter his senior season with 125 solo tackles, 205 overall tackles and four interceptions in his career as a Bulldog. He follows in the footsteps of previous captain and wide receiver Deon Randall ’15, who led an 8–2 Eli squad and also broke the record for receptions in a Yale career with 219 grabs in his four years.

The defensive back, who is the 138th elected captain, enters his new role with arguably the most leadership experience under his belt out of all juniors on the team. In 10 games this season, Champion was the only player starting in the secondary who was not a freshman or sophomore. Teammates Foye Oluokun ’17, Spencer Rymiszewski ’17, Dale Harris ’17 and Jason Alessi ’18 joined Champion to form the youngest unit on the team.

Champion was a leader even in his first two year on the team, having led all Eli defensive backs in both solo and overall tackles in his freshman and sophomore seasons. In 2013, he was named second-team all-Ivy in his sophomore season after recording 49 solo tackles and 78 overall, in addition to three interceptions and four fumble recoveries.

This year, he tallied 30 solos and 51 total tackles while starting all 10 games. Against Brown, Champion intercepted a pass inside the red zone that stopped the Bears from scoring and also set up the Elis for a field goal that would eventually decide the game.

As is tradition at Yale, only one player can serve as captain for each varsity team.