Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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From no name to big game, Zeke Markshausen’s work ethic paves way to success

As a high schooler, Zeke Markshausen dreamed of playing football on one of the biggest stages in the country, the Big Ten. Four years and two schools later, Markshausen has gotten that opportunity, and he has stolen the stage.

Even with the longest surname on the team, Markshausen’s moniker has become a common one around Evanston. But it wasn’t always that way. Senior wide receiver Andrew Brewer remembers the first time Markshausen was introduced to the team.

“Former offensive coordinator Garrick McGee brought Zeke to the front of the offensive meeting and said, ‘Zeke, introduce yourself. I would introduce you, but I don’t even know how to pronounce your last name,'” he said.

That summer was Markshausen’s first at Northwestern. He transferred from Division-III Wisconsin-Platteville, where he played football and ran track. Though he decided to transfer to NU halfway through his freshman year, Markshausen made the most of his time at Wisconsin-Platteville.

“I had a lot of questions about my faith and who God was,” he said. “I ended up finding my belief there in Jesus Christ and committing my life to Christ at that school.”

Markshausen spent most of his time on the sidelines during his first year at NU.

“I don’t think I was on a (depth chart) string,” Markshausen said after NU’s win over Wisconsin earlier this year. “It was just one of those things that was like, ‘Zeke just watch for a while. Don’t do anything dumb. Don’t get anybody hurt.'”

Between 2006 and 2008, Markshausen registered one catch. With NU’s recent history of successful receivers, not many people expected a walk-on to play a significant role.

“You look at the history of the receiver room, with guys like Ross Lane, Eric Peterman and Rasheed Ward,” Brewer said. “It’s hard to get reps in our room the last couple years.”

During his time on the scout team and the second team offense, Markshausen slowly developed chemistry with another backup who would come to play a big role in this year’s offense: senior quarterback Mike Kafka.

“Any time you spend you that much time with someone, you’re either going to like them or you’re going to have some beef with them,” Markshausen said. “I saw that (Kafka) was willing to put in the longest amount of time, and I think he saw the same in me.”

The Kafka-Markshausen connection developed into one of the best in the conference. Against Michigan State, Kafka found Markshausen 16 times, the second most single-game receptions by a receiver in school history. Overall, Markshausen has hauled in 79 catches this year, good for second in the conference.

In NU’s spread offense, Markshausen established himself as a threat over the middle of the field. That’s often where linebackers are stationed, and Markshausen has taken his share of hard hits.

“He’s not the biggest receiver in the room, but the kid is not afraid to catch a big route across the middle or catch it and run into linebackers,” Brewer said. “That’s just a credit to who he is. He’s tough as nails.”

Markshausen’s resiliency has come as a surprise to many, but not to him.

“It’s just the way I grew up, I guess,” he said. “You’re either hurt or you’re injured. If you’re hurt you pop back up, if you’re injured that’s another story.”

Ever since he stepped foot on campus, Markshausen has maintained this steadfast work ethic.

“When he gets out on the field, he’s serious about what he’s doing,” Brewer said. “He’s going to put in that extra effort no matter if it’s chasing somebody on the back side to go block or catching it and running down the field.”

Even off the field, Markshausen is a hard worker. An active outdoorsman, Markshausen has a knack for woodcarving – he crafted the bunk bed in his room in order to maximize space.

“I spend a lot of time outside,” Markshausen said. “Learning from some books I read and people that are out in the wilderness.”

Whether it is by carving wood or carving up defenses, Markshausen has made a name for himself with his teammates and coaches. They have praised him relentlessly the entire year, but recently Brewer paid Markshausen the ultimate compliment.

“If I had a sister, he would be the guy that I want my sister to be with,” he said.

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
From no name to big game, Zeke Markshausen’s work ethic paves way to success