Nick VanHoose, Northwestern Wildcats football, No. 23

Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

Nick VanHoose became NU's top corner very quickly his freshman year, and Northwestern quickly learned that the No. 2 options aren't nearly as good.

23 days! Nick VanHoose! Starting to run out of ways to say I'm excited how few days are left, and there's a lot of days left!

Today is Nick VanHoose, who quickly showed last year that he is a) good at cornerback b) damn near irreplaceable on Northwestern's roster. We hope that he can continue to be good at cornerback without the whole showing us how irreplaceable he is, because that wasn't as fun. Here's Nick VanHoose, a 6'0, 185-pound guy who doesn't like it when you catch the ball and stuff.

Origin myth

VanHoose is from small-town Ohio: St. Paris, population 2,089, where he went to Graham. (St. Paris is in Champaign County, whose seat is Urbana, because wtf?) Suffice it to say, there aren't many athletes like VanHoose in small-town Ohio: he was area player of the year in basketball and football as both a junior and a senior. Football's what we care about, though, and he played both ways, shattering his school's rushing record and earning two second-team all-state honors. If we watch his highlight video, it's almost exactly like Ibraheim Campbell's video from yesterday: at running back, both look way, way faster than anybody else on the field, and if you look closely, they're also bigger and stronger. At :25, he's pretty legitimately stood up by a defender, chills for a sec, then bursts down the field for a TD, at :50, he gets caught in a scrum, we lose sight of him, and then he's past everybody.

There's also one cutback all around the defense for a TD. Look, I enjoy high school highlight videos.

Unlike Campbell, he wasn't highly recruited. Although 247's composite lists him as the No. 85 cornerback in the class and gives him three stars, he's listed as a two-star CB by Rivals and a two-star safety by ESPN. VanHoose initially committed to Indiana, since defensive coordinator Brian George went to Graham as well, but after Bill Lynch and his staff were fired he decommitted, and chose Northwestern. Ball State was his only other option.

At Northwestern

A hamstring injury caused VanHoose to redshirt, although as the article I linked up there notes, he almost played after injury to Jordan Mabin late in the 2011 season. But he won the spot out of camp in 2012, and although he was but a freshman, he looked polished as a cover corner. In the season debut, Northwestern had no answer for Ryan Nassib and Syracuse's passing attack, but nearly all the work Nassib did came against the assorted corners on the other side, while VanHoose held his ground. VanHoose's speed and instincts were clearly good enough to merit snaps, while the other side saw Demetrius Dugar, Quinn Evans, and Daniel Jones flailing.

However, he'd suffer a shoulder injury against Nebraska. He was out of the game when the Huskers made their comeback, and his injury kept him from being on the field when NU lost to Michigan. Two of the three games Northwestern lost this past year were incredibly close, and both were due to late-game passing heroics, and Northwestern did not have their best cornerback on the field in both of them.

All in all, VanHoose had seven pass breakups, three picks, and three fumble recoveries -- all as a gunner on punts. (He's good at that.)

Career highlight

Another day, another interception from the Gator Bowl. (That was a fun day.)

Northwestern had Mississippi State down 27-20, but the Wildcats have never been one to celebrate early. The Bulldogs were looking to mount a scoring drive early in the fourth, but after starting out on their own ten due to a Brandon Williams punt, two pass attempts only gained Mississippi State five yards. On third-and-five, the Bulldogs released all five guys downfield, but Northwestern's coverage was perfect. Tyler Russell sat in his pocket, which folded, and after about four seconds of dancing, he had to abandon the pocket and decided to heave the ball downfield just an instant before being popped by Deonte Gibson. The pass, suffice it to say, was not good. The ball goes about 45 yards in the air, but that's not nearly enough to reach his intended target, [MISSISSIPPI STATE RECEIVER OFF THE SCREEN], so VanHoose comes back, snags the ball, and sees open field ahead of him. 39 yards later, he's brought down at the Mississippi State ten-yard line. A Mississippi State penalty put the ball on the five, and three plays later, Northwestern had a 34-20 lead that they'd hold on to for their first bowl win since 1949. (still sounds good)

Anagram of choice

Discovering the Wildcats true inner selves through spelling

Nick VanHoose, anagrammed, is

NAIVE SCHNOOK

wait a second

na-ive, adj: unsuspecting or credulous
schnook, n: a person easily duped, a fool

NICK VAN HOOSE'S ANAGRAM ACTUALLY IS A PHRASE OF TWO WORDS THAT MAKES SENSE TOGETHER! HALLELUJAH! HE IS THE SAVIOR! (Also considered: "invoke nachos," because you should always invoke nachos, even if you're just putting american cheese on chips and microwaving it and dousing it in sriracha, you drunk person in every single frat house kitchen ever, "have coonskin," which could be followed with "will follow" if you were a big Davey Crockett disciple, and "a novice honks," which is true, because people who don't know how to drive honk more than those who do in my experience.

Relevant musical selection

"Runnin' With The Devil," Van Halen

Not a big VH guy, but VAN HOOSLEN WORLD TOUR 88 WOOOOOOOOOO

How he can help

let me just copy paste something

Two of the three games Northwestern lost this past year were incredibly close, and both were due to late-game passing heroics, and Northwestern did not have their best cornerback on the field in both of them.
Two of the three games Northwestern lost this past year were incredibly close, and both were due to late-game passing heroics, and Northwestern did not have their best cornerback on the field in both of them.
Two of the three games Northwestern lost this past year were incredibly close, and both were due to late-game passing heroics, and Northwestern did not have their best cornerback on the field in both of them.
Two of the three games Northwestern lost this past year were incredibly close, and both were due to late-game passing heroics, and Northwestern did not have their best cornerback on the field in both of them.
Two of the three games Northwestern lost this past year were incredibly close, and both were due to late-game passing heroics, and Northwestern did not have their best cornerback on the field in both of them.

Dude's a solid Big Ten corner. And he's a sophomore. I'd like it if we chilled on the running him out on the punt team, not because he doesn't have the speed to do it, but because he's too important to NU.

Depth chart projection

YOU KNOW IT!

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