Rhys Ruddock will lead Ireland on the Summer Tour of USA and Japan.
A British and Irish Lions tour and injuries to key men like Rob Kearney and Jamie Heaslip mean the Leinster flanker is one of the most experienced players in the squad despite just making 13 appearances.
“He has missed out with injuries in recent times but he really led by example in South Africa last summer, Schmidt told The Irish Independent.
“He captained Leinster when I was there so I know he can do the job, he has the respect of the other players and this is a young team.
“Peter O’Mahony led this tour four years ago and now it is time for the mantle to be passed on. Our others leaders Rory Best and Jamie Heaslip are away too.
“It’s an incredibly young group compared to what we normally have, Rhys is tremendously experienced in the back-row even though he doesn’t have a massive amount of caps himself.”
Tommy O'Donnell will miss the trip with an ankle injury. Ulster's Sean Reidy has been called up in his absence.
There was disappointment for the Ireland U20's. They lost by 22-21 against Italy in their opening World Championship game.
Calvin Nash crossed the line twice for Ireland - Ciaran Frawley missed a late penalty to win it for Ireland.
Ireland skipper Paul Boyle admits they didn't do enough to win it: