Name: Kaleb Eulls
College: Mississippi State
NFL games played: 4
Games played for the Chargers: 0
There's no fun fact this time, because there's really only one thing it could really be with Eulls, and I didn't want to give it away in a throwaway fact. We'll get to that later, though. First, let's talk a bit about Eulls as a player.
At High School, the 6'4, 255lb Eulls played both QB and DE, and was ranked the #4 player in the entire state of Mississippi by SuperPrep, earning a 4* rating from both Scout.com. and Rivals.com. He committed to Mississippi State in July 2009, and was a very solid four year starter for the Bulldogs. Whilst earning his undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies, he started all 52 games of his four year career, finishing his career with 118 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. Not spectacular numbers, but, like with so many defensive linemen, Eulls did the dirty work that doesn't show up on the stat sheet. That dirty work wasn't enough to get Eulls drafted, though, and he signed with the Saints as an UDFA in May 2015.
Eulls spent the entire 2015 season there, appearing in four games without recording a stat. The Saints didn't see him having a future on their DL, however, and after a brief unsuccessful stint as an offensive lineman, Eulls was released by the Saints in August 2016. The Chargers picked him up and added him to the Practice Squad, releasing him and then re-signing him back to the Practice Squad a month later. Injuries kept piling up, however, and Eulls was signed to the active roster in December, where he would finish the season.
Enough football. Lets talk about Kaleb Eulls the person.
When most 18 year olds wake up at 6:52 AM, it's to get ready for school - but living in a rural area meant that Eulls had to take a 90 minute bus ride to his school every day. By 6:52 AM most days, Eulls was happily asleep on his school bus, getting in some more rest before a long day of school. It was his routine. His four sisters knew it, and left him alone. Most days.
People like routine. It's comfortable. Deviation from routine can make you feel uneasy - especially when you're not the one causing it. So when Eulls' sleep was interrupted by his sister nudging him awake, he may have had the feeling that something wasn't right. If he didn't, he soon would.
"Kaleb, she's got a gun."
"Kaleb, look. She's got a gun."
While Eulls had been sleeping, a 14 year old girl on the bus had pulled out a gun from under her clothes. As he woke up, the girl was pacing backwards and forwards down the schoolbus, loading a clip into the pistol while threatening to shoot anybody who had ever teased her.
That wasn't Eulls. The 18 year old might have been a star on the football field, but he was also an honor roll student who kept himself to himself. But there were 22 schoolchildren on that bus, some as young as 5 years old. People were going to get hurt. Panic set in for everyone on the bus.
Well, nearly everyone.
Eulls put his glasses on, stood up, and walked towards the armed girl. As she was threatening the other kids, Eulls told her to focus on him, to point the gun at him, so that "I would know she's not pointing it at anyone else."
Let that sink in for a moment.
Eulls was an 18 year old star athlete, who'd already received and accepted a full ride scholarship to play football at one of the best schools in the country. He had his whole life ahead of him, but he made the decision to put his future on the line. To put his life on the line. To stand up to an armed assailant. To protect the lives of children he didn't know.
The girl did look at Eulls, which gave other children the chance to escape through the emergency exit. And, when the girl looked away for a fraction of a second, Eulls made his move. He tackled the girl to the floor - hard. The gun fell to the floor, and Eulls swooped it up. He'll never force a more important fumble.
The word 'hero' is often - wrongly - synonymous with our favourite sporting figures. Philip Rivers played through a torn ACL. He's as tough as they come. He might even be a legend. He's not a hero. That term belongs to Kaleb Eulls.
Eulls did make national news for the story, but that was back in 2009. Since then? Silence. The Chargers website makes no reference to the incident. The Saints website lists the incident as a throwaway comment, given the same importance as telling you how to pronounce his last name (Yules, if you were wondering).
Eulls might not be the most talented football player, but he sure as hell deserves a lot more attention for this story than he's getting. If Eulls was an All-Pro, there wouldn't be a person in the world that didn't know the story. I consider myself a pretty dedicated Chargers fan, but I had no idea about this until I started researching him for this series. I'd guess that a lot of you are in the same boat.
We all need heroes in our life, people to inspire us. Often, that does come in the form of sporting figures. But while we've been worshipping Philip Rivers and Joey Bosa, we've had a genuine hero right under our nose the entire time. We just didn't realise it until now.
I'll be honest, and admit that I don't know much about the way Eulls plays the game. I don't know if he's going to be on the roster come September. I also don't know if he's got a future in the NFL. But I do know one thing.
Kaleb Eulls is a hero.
I'd be damned proud to have him representing my football team.