They’re Always Recruiting!

Mike Eskridge. That was his name. The guy who almost ruined the Summer of 1991 for me. I remember it like it was yesterday, a hot and muggy day in Davis, CA (about 20 miles outside of Sacramento). Shawn and I had just finished running, part of an intense offseason training program that, in all, totaled about six hours of work every day. Shawn was my roommate for most of my college career. Like me, he played defensive back and together, we were as disciplined and intense as you could be, dedicated to an offseason program we mostly designed ourselves that included running, lifting weights, stretching, countless football drills, and hours of film study. And in one conversation, all of it seemed futile.

We were chatting with our Defensive Coordinator. We’d already showered after our workout and were in the team’s film library, affectionately known as “the Cave” because it was on the top floor of our training center, in a dark corner office with no windows or natural light. It was the tail end of recruiting season and he was finishing up some paperwork and making a few final phone calls. The look on his face revealed that he was pleased, in an unusually pleasant mood. He, like many a defensive coach, tended to be surly. But not on this day. So I asked him, “What you so happy ’bout, Coach?” “Just had a good signing period,” he said. “That’s all.” I naturally had to ask him what kind of additions to our team we could expect. And the first name out of his mouth was Mike Eskridge, a cornerback from Monterey Peninsula College, a junior college located about fifteen minutes from where I’d attended high school. I’d worked out with Mike a few times during the summers while in high school and knew he was good. In fact, he was one of the smoothest and most natural defensive backs I’d ever seen. To say I was upset would be an understatement. I’d go so far as to say I was devastated. Read more of this post