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Mike Jensen, Northwestern Wildcats football, No. 80

Mike Jensen started as a walk-on now he's here. ("Here" is a key contributor on special teams, a guy who makes a couple of receptions a year, has a scholarship, and was called NU's spring MVP by Pat Fitzgerald.)


Mike Jensen is - actually, was, I believe - a walk-on, but he's been able to contribute in a positive factor for the Wildcats, making one clutch catch in 2012. Once again, he'll look to contribute in multiple facets of the game and maybe even snag a few more receptions - not bad for a guy nobody recruited, eh? Anyway, here's Mike Jensen:

Origin myth

Jensen went to a school called The Bishop's School - THE BISHOP!!!! - in Rancho Santa Fe - translation: Ranch St. Faith, which sounds delicious - California. Jensen got more cred as a defensive back than as a wide receiver, earning his league's Defensive Player of the Year honor as a senior. He was the team's defensive MVP in 2007 when they went 12-0, and the team's overall MVP in 2008 when they didn't. However, this came at a relatively low level of high school ball, and Jensen went unrecruited.

At Northwestern

Though a walk-on, Jensen would see the field often after redshirting his freshman year. He became a contributor on special teams, making nine tackles as a freshman. As a sophomore, he'd keep up the special teams play, forcing a fumble on a kickoff against Penn State - although if I remember correctly, he didn't do much to "force" it - and switch from defensive back to offense, actually seeing the field a bit. He reeled in in catches against Rice and Texas A&M. He'd play even more frequently on offense as a junior, continuing to play special teams on kickoffs and showing his worth as a downfield blocker on offense. Look at that photo up there! Blockin the hell outta Johnthan Banks!

Career highlight

Northwestern blew an enooooooooooooormous lead against Syracuse, going from up 35-13 to down 41-35. It was our first dose of Trevor time: the Wildcats brought in Siemian to lead Northwestern down the field, and lead he did. But with the team running hurry-up and running routes over and over again sorta hard, Northwestern swapped in and out receivers to keep guys fresh. One of the guys who came in was Jensen: on a second-and-seven, he ran a nice out route to the first down marker, and found himself completely uncovered, and Siemian stepped up and found him for a 12-yard gainer. Every play on that stretch was critical to Northwestern - eventually, NU would pick up a lucky first down on a late hit on Siemian, and he'd find Demetrius Fields in the end zone for a game-winning touchdown - and one of them was a nice job by Jensen to find an open spot in Syracuse's zone, make the catch, and get out of bounds to stop the clock.

In retrospect, that was a fun game, although at the time it seemed like an indicator Northwestern would go 6-6 after going down to the wire against a 'Cuse team that seemed middling. Every win in getting to 10 was huge, because TEN WINS!!!!, and that was one of the crazier ones.

You could also argue Jensen's highlight was being interviewed by Herman for SoP.

Anagram of choice

Discovering the Wildcats' true inner selves through spelling

Mike Jensen, anagrammed is


Note: every anagram for Mike Jensen included the word "jinn," which is an Arabic word for genie. I will prefer to think it is referring to the Asian rapper Jin, who was definitely awful, but was definitely Asian, so that's why he was famous. Anyways, I suppose Mike Jensen would like Jin to seek him.

How he can help

Dude had an awesome spring. Don't believe me? Just watch:

That said, I wouldn't read into that much: I expect more of the same. Do well on special teams, a role he's embraced, be dependable enough to spell guys for a play here or there on offense, and block well when in the game.

Depth chart projection

We have Jensen listed as backup to Christian Jones in the H spot, same as last year -- mainly inside play. Jensen isn't talented enough to be a starter in a very, very talented wide receiver corps. But he's earned his scholarship, and he's a testament to the strength of Northwestern's walk-on program: that a guy no college wanted can be a useful member of a Big Ten football team, and in one instance, help save a game. That's what Pat Fitzgerald meant when he called Jensen Northwestern's spring MVP - he loves touting walk-ons - and sure, he'll contribute in many facets of the game for NU. Good stuff.