Throughout the football season, the topic of the moment seemed to center around the unlikely, out-of-left-field success story of senior wide receiver Zeke Markshausen. He began his senior year with one catch and finished with 91 receptions, the second most in the Big Ten conference and a large part of Northwestern’s consistent strength on offense. There is more to Zeke than his on-field success, though.
A fifth-year senior and former transfer student, Markshausen is probably as busy as most Northwestern students during the year. Pursuing a master’s in Engineering Design and Innovation after receiving his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, Markshausen is a rarity, dedicating himself to varsity athletics as well as a major that most Northwestern students wouldn’t dare touch. He’s also been involved in Northwestern’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Dow Sustainability Challenge, NUvention Web and is a self-described “designer, thinker, inventor, entrepreneur.”
Somehow, the McCormick graduate managed to fit Northwestern football into a heavy workload and received a scholarship prior to his breakout season, but has come out all the more prepared for the real world, be it football or otherwise:
“I have been pushed to my limits here at Northwestern. It seems like every quarter I have something new on my plate that adds another challenge. But I love challenges. At the time, it was pretty daunting, but I have been able to see the benefits of my challenges as it has molded me into the person I am. I feel confident going into this next stage of my life that I can take on even greater challenges and do even greater things.”
After the end of the Outback Bowl and Markshausen’s collegiate athletics career he began training for a potential career in the NFL, working out at TC Boost in Northbrook, Ill. for 10 weeks. He focused on improving speed and body control through route-running practice.
Said Markshausen, “I believe I can be a smart player that has the ability to get open when a team needs me the most. I have always prided myself on being a smart player that knows what he is doing out on the field but at the same time being an instinctive player that can make plays when something breaks down.”
Reflecting on his career, Markshausen is thankful for the opportunity and good fortune of his senior season as the highlight for his Wildcat career, though not for the accomplishments or accolades on paper.
“Sure, I played a lot more and had some success but it wasn’t just because of that – I enjoyed the journey that it took to get there and I tried to keep the right perspective throughout the season,” said Markshausen. “I was blessed to realize that this career, this last season, was not about me but about something much bigger.”
In the event that Markshausen does not find a home in the NFL, there is still a viable job market for Northwestern graduate school alumni.
“I am currently looking for design jobs. I would love to work for an innovative company and become a part of that community of cutting edge businesses, said Markshausen, who despite his professional success is not immune to the wanderlust that seems to strike every young adult. “There is another part of me that just wants to travel the entire world and do something crazy – I’m pretty sure I could find something fun somewhere around the world… Yeah, I think that sounds more fun than corporate work.”
Whatever the future makes for Zeke Markshausen, one can be sure that his successes have merely just begun. For the rest of us, Zeke has some comforting words: “Northwestern is a great place that pushes you to your limits and develops you into a world changer if you decide to take advantage of it. Take advantage of it, have fun and have no regrets.”