Aug. 17, 2009
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
It would be easy to say the Lobo who turned in nine tackles and blocked two field goals in the University of New Mexico Lobos' first scrimmage came out of nowhere.
If you check out the Lobo Media Guide, Jesse Paulsen isn't even mentioned in the 2009 outlook section that rundowns the Lobos' defensive secondary.
You will find Ian Clark, Frankie Solomon, Frankie Baca and a host of young and talented Lobos like Anthony Hooks, Edrick Boger, Nathan Enriquez, Freddy Young, DeShawn Mills, Alex Bustos and Emmanuel McPhearson, who might become contributors in that unit.
But no Jesse Paulsen.
Mostly, that's Paulsen's fault. One scrimmage does not a star, or a starter, make, but Paulsen wasn't supposed to be this good this fast. He was looked upon more as a promising, young athlete who probably would be a whole lot of help on the UNM special teams.
That's kind of the path a walk-on has to take. Make little impressions here and there. Work hard and improve. Maybe slip in the lineup now and then and look to make a tackle or two -- or nine. Change the perception, and the stigma, that often is attached to no-name walk-ons.
But Jesse Paulsen definitely didn't come out of nowhere and if you are familiar with his Lobo roots and his family tree, you probably aren't surprised that Paulsen is getting some serious looks on the Mike Locksley football field.
In a way, Paulsen cut his teeth on Lobo athletics. His father, Mark Paulsen, has been UNM's strength and conditioning coordinator for 23 years.
"That was a huge factor," said Jesse. "I've been going to Lobo football games since I was six-years-old, maybe younger. I grew up with the Lobos."
Paulsen also sprung up from a whole lot of talented genes. "I think he got them from his mother and her side of the family," said Mark Paulsen.
Maybe. And that's not so bad. Jesse's mom, Christine Paulsen, was a collegiate and semi-pro tennis player. Her father was a Golden Glove boxer and a track star.
But dad wasn't too shabby either when it came to sports. Mark Paulsen captained the Kansas track team and played tight end for the Kansas football team.
"Maybe Jesse gets his drive from me," said dad.
Drive is something that helps carry Jesse as a Lobo. But this obviously is a talented kid. The 6-foot-1 redshirt freshman lettered in football, track and basketball at Manzano High in Albuquerque.
He was a good Monarch, but not good enough to land a scholarship at the D-I level. So he decided to become a Lobo. It was an easy choice. UNM is his roots. He has Lobos in his heart.
"It seemed like everyone was surprised that I had a good scrimmage, but I wasn't surprised," he said. "I'm just going to work hard every day and contribute wherever I can.
"I want to play on the special teams and if I can get some time in the secondary, that will be icing on the cake."