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Mike Eshun, Northwestern Wildcats football, No. 36

Mike Eshun is just a walk-on defensive back, but he was a 1,000-yard rusher in high school -- in only five games.


Today, we cover a player who is not Jeff Budzien, which is a major disappointment. I don't know why players who are not Jeff Budzien even bother trying to play football, but, alas: Mike Eshun, a 5'8, 170-pound walk-on defensive back is today's haul.

Oh, and, by the way, five weeks and one day until football. I can dig it. But for now, let's deal with Eshun.

Origin myth

Mike comes from Madison, which, booooo there's another football team that plays there. He played for Edgewood, and actually racked up maybe the most impressive statline I've seen in any of these: despite an ankle injury keeping him out for all but five games, he racked up 1,066 yards rushing -- over 200 per game! -- 14 rushing touchdowns, and four picks, two of which he took to the house. Jesus! That's a whole season's statline! For anybody! On either side of the line! Earlier this week I misidentified somebody as playing in a low high school division where they were in fact in a high one. I imagine this was a low division. Alas, despite the crazy numbers, he didn't get offers, because, 5'8, 170.

At Northwestern

Eshun sat for his first two seasons at Northwestern, but played in five games last year, picking up three special teams tackles.

Anagram of choice

Discovering the Wildcats' true inner selves through spelling

Mike Eshun, anagrammed, is


Ummm... raisins.... granola... trail.... mix? I suggest you pick fruits and berries from the side of the hiking route but not the poisonous ones because they're poisonous.

Relevant musical selection

"Pass the Mic," Beastie Boys

Tough to pick a song about somebody named "Mike," -- Northwestern has six -- since every rap song ever has "Mic" in the title, and that's not including Mike Jones' discography.

Anyway, I've obviously got a soft spot in my heart for the Beasties, because, you know, Jewish. They were one of my early favorite rap acts, because 13-year-old white kids are inherently racist, but the appreciation hasn't waned with age -- except less listening to "FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO PAAAAARTAYYYY" and "GIRLS!" and more listening to Paul's Boutique. It's pretty amazing that three Jewish kids who aren't particularly great rappers became one of the more seminal acts in rap history, but they respected the culture, made awesome, musically interesting records, and never for a moment acted less than incredibly cool without seeming like posers, which will get the job done.

On the lowkey, Check Your Head might be my favorite album of theirs -- the one with maybe the most synthesis of them rapping and playing instruments -- and this is one of the standouts. "I'm like Clyde (CLYDE!) and I'm Rockin' Steady!" has particular meaning to me because I own a copy of Clyde Frazier's 1970's book "Rockin' Steady," and it's pretty much the best thing any human can own.

How he can help

Obviously dude faces a pretty serious size disparity when talking about Big Ten football, but those gaudy stats do make it seem like he's got speed, and he's already contributed on special teams. No reason he can't keep that up as a gunner or guy on kickoff teams.

Depth chart projection

I've said this already, but past Northwestern's top three spots at cornerback -- Nick VanHoose, Daniel Jones, C.J. Bryant -- there are openings, and past two scholarship guys -- Jarrell Williams, Dwight White -- everybody's either a freshman or a walk-on. Eshun would be in the mix with Troy Sheppard and Joe Cannon and other walk-ons to play in a blowout or if somebody gets hurt, but I don't know the order they'd put guys in. Although, damn, those high school stats. He's got three years in the program under his belt, so I'd imagine he's high on the list.