June 3, 2010
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald announced today (Thursday, June 3) the addition of six non-scholarship student-athletes to the Wildcats' 2010 roster.
In recent years, scholarship reductions have increased the importance of attracting quality walk-ons to a football program. In addition, many walk-ons earn full scholarships while attending Northwestern. In the last 11 years, the Wildcats have awarded 30 full scholarships to walk-ons.
"Every year, our non-scholarship players make a huge impact on our program and we reward as many as possible," said Fitzgerald. "We had a number of former walk-ons play prominent roles for our football team in 2009, led by Zeke Markshausen. Zeke is just one example of the many talented walk-ons who join our program and work their tails off to become significant contributors on the field. I'm pleased to welcome these six student-athletes to our football family."
Northwestern's six walk-ons for 2010 are offensive lineman Hayden Baker (Trout Valley, Ill./Cary-Grove), defensive back Joe Cannon (Oconomowoc, Wis./Marquette University H.S.), wide receiver Torin Dupper (Decatur, Ala./Decatur), defensive back Mike Eshun (Madison, Wis./Edgewood), superback Christian Flores (Brambleton, Va./Briar Woods) and running back Tim Hanrahan (Frankfort, Ill./Providence Catholic).
Northwestern is savoring its most successful stretch of football in school history. Since 1995, the Wildcats have posted nine seasons with six or more victories. In the last decade (2000-09), the Wildcats won six or more games seven times (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009) and touted six bowl-eligible teams. Northwestern finished the last decade with an overall record of 61-60. In the last 15 years, only Ohio State and Michigan have won more Big Ten titles than the Wildcats' three conference crowns. NU has won a combined 17 games the past two seasons, which ranks as the third-most wins in a two-year period in school history. The Wildcats are coming off a 2010 New Year's Day appearance in the Outback Bowl.
Off the field, Northwestern's football program is shining, too. The Wildcats had a school-record 60 players earn a 3.0 grade point average for the 2010 winter quarter, and for the second time in school history, the team earned a cumulative GPA of better than 3.0. Northwestern had a school-record 29 football student-athletes earn Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2009, with two of those individuals being named ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans. Northwestern's football student-athletes also volunteer over 800 hours of combined community outreach each year, as well.
Northwestern begins preseason camp the weekend of Aug. 7 and 8, in preparation for its Sept. 4 season opener at Vanderbilt University.
The following are the biographies of NU's six walk-on student-athletes:
Trout Valley, Ill. Cary-Grove
Projected Position: Offensive Line
High School: A near-consensus all-state selection in 2009, earning first-team nods from the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association, Chicago Tribune and Champaign News-Gazette ... A Chicago Sun-Times Top-25 All-Area team selection ... ESPN Chicago All-Area Preps team ... Two-time selection (2008 and 2009) to the Daily Herald and Northwest Herald all-area teams ... Team's two-time Offensive Line MVP (center) ... Helped lead the Trojans to the 2009 state title, the school's first, with a 34-17 win over Providence Catholic ... In state title game, faced Providence's all-state nose tackle Steve Laski ... Trojans went unbeaten in conference play two straight years (2008-09) ... Helped Cary-Grove amass 5,289 total yards, which included 4,444 rushing yards ... Trojans, using a triple-option offense, scored 546 points in two seasons ... Team, which went 53-1 in regular-season play from 2004-09, received MaxPreps Tour of Champions Trophy ... Team captain ... His football record with the Trojans was 41-3 ... Also competed in wrestling, track and lacrosse ... Won the lacrosse team's "Physical Presence" award ... Also won the "Harlem Big Man Challenge" lineman competition ... High Honor Roll eight semesters ... NHS, AP Scholar, Illinois State Scholar and two-time Academic All-State selection ... Coached by Bruce Kay.
Personal: Born Hayden Patrick Baker ... Son of Robert and Mary Ellen Baker ... Uncle played football at Iowa and played in the Rose Bowl ... Anticipated major is biological sciences.
Oconomowoc, Wis. Marquette University H.S.
Projected Position: Defensive Back
High School: A second-team all-conference cornerback for the Hilltoppers, which went 14-0 and won Wisconsin's Division I state title ... Played quarterback his junior year before being moved to defense as a senior ... Tabbed the Hilltoppers' "Most Improved Player" for his performance as a senior ... Earned a Greater Metro Conference Senior Scholar Award ... Ranked 48th on the ESPN's Fab 50 of top Wisconsin players, and ranked 58th among Rivals' top 100 Wisconsin players ... His 50-yard interception return for TD sparked a run of 30 straight points against Brookfield Central ... Totaled 42 tackles, four TFL's, three interceptions (two for TD's) and 13 pass breakups in 2009 ... Also lettered in baseball (second baseman) ... NHS, MUHS Scholar-Athlete Award, Honor Roll member all four years ... Coached by Dick Basham.
Personal: Born Joseph Michael Cannon ... Son of Pat and Linda Cannon ... Brother, P.J., played football at Wisconsin and was a member of two winning Rose Bowl teams ... His cousin, Jenny Baumann, plays soccer at Northwestern (2007-10) ... His grandfather, Robert Cannon, served as a vice president for the Milwaukee Brewers and as general counsel for the Chicago Cubs (1982-85).
Decatur, Ala. Decatur
Projected Position: Wide Receiver
High School: An honorable mention Class 6A all-state wide receiver ... Caught 41 passes for 824 yards (20.1 ypr) and 9 TD's in 2009 ... A first-team Class 6A All-Region and Decatur Daily honoree ... Earned a player of the week honor from the Alabama Sports Writers Association ... Selected to play in Alabama's North-South all-star game ... Helped the Red Raiders to a 9-3 record in 2009 and a three-year mark of 27-9 ... Team placed third in the Region 8 Conference and reached the second round of the playoffs ... Team captain ... Also played quarterback and tight end ... Student Council president and two-year NHS member ... Finished fifth in high school class ... William Randolph Hearst scholarship finalist, International Baccalaureate student and earned "A" honors all four years ... Boys state representative ... Coached by Jere Adcock.
Personal: Born Torin Joseph Dupper ... Son of Joseph and Kathy Dupper ... Both parents were student-athletes at the University of Chicago -- father competed in baseball and wrestling, while mother played basketball and softball ... Has five younger brothers.
Madison, Wis. Edgewood
Projected Position: Defensive Back
High School: Starred on both sides of the ball at Edgewood, earning first-team All-Badger South honors as both a running back and defensive back ... In just five games in 2009 (missed remainder of season with an ankle injury), totaled 1,066 rushing yards (213.2 ypg), 14 TD's and four interceptions (two returned for TD's) ... An all-region selection at defensive back ... Tabbed a National Football Foundation Wisconsin Scholar-Athlete ... Selected to play in Wisconsin's Football Coaches Association annual all-star game ... Scored five TD's (three rushing, a 25-yard "pick-six" and a 95-yard kickoff return) vs. Monroe ... Helped the Waterbugs reach the state playoffs ... Also lettered in basketball (point guard) ... Team captain for both football and basketball ... High Honor Roll and NHS ... Coached by Alan Minnaert.
Personal: Born Michael Kojo Eshun ... Son of Christine Eshun ... Sister, Ann, played soccer at Wisconsin.
Brambleton, Va. Briar Woods
Projected Position: Superback
High School: Played at Briar Woods during his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons before competing with the Virginia Lions as a senior ... Totaled 24 receptions for 493 yards and 3 TD's in seven games as a wide receiver/tight end for the Lions in 2009 ... Earned team's Offensive Player of the Game (vs. Carlisle High) and team's Dedication Award ... Totaled nine receptions for 123 yards and a TD vs. Carlisle ... Also added 28 solo tackles and 35 assisted tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble and one interception, while playing defensive end, linebacker and strong safety ... Team captain ... Briar Woods went 8-3 and made the playoffs in his junior season ... Ranked fifth among senior class ... NHS, Spanish NHS, Math NHS, AP Scholar, Spanish III Award, Excellence in Education honoree and Leadership in the Law selectee ... Also lettered in basketball and baseball ... Coached by Vincent Owens, Charlie Pierce and Stephen Celio.
Personal: Born Christian Gerard Flores ... Son of Roy and Victoria Flores ... Plans to major in broadcast journalism.
Frankfort, Ill. Providence Catholic
Projected Position: Running Back
High School: Tabbed an Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 6A all-state running back ... Chicago Tribune honorable mention all-state selection ... Two-time Herald News and Daily Southtown all-area selection ... Two-time Chicago Catholic League Blue All-Conference honoree ... Two-time team MVP (2008 and 2009) ... Team captain ... Conference's Offensive MVP in 2009 ... Totaled seven career games with 200-plus rushing yards ... Five-time Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Week ... Helped lead the Celtics to the 2009 Catholic League Blue title and an appearance in the Class 6A state championship game ... Rushed for 1,936 yards his junior year (287 carries) and 1,851 yards (351 carries) his senior season ... Also led team with 39 receptions in 2009 ... Ranks second on Providence Catholic's all-time rushing list with 4,074 career rushing yards ... Also lettered in baseball (center fielder) and was a team captain ... NHS, AP Scholar, Illinois State Scholar, 2010 Outstanding Citizenship Award, 2010 Outstanding Science Student Award, All-State Academic team, IHSA Football Coaches Association All-Academic selection ... Prep teammate with current NU offensive tackle Patrick Ward ... Also played against current NU players, Chance Carter (Loyola) and Anthony Battle (Mt. Carmel) ... Coached by Mark Coglianese.
Personal: Born Timothy Marshall Hanrahan ... Son of Timothy and Julianne Hanrahan ... Sister, Brittany, plays softball at Colgate.