Your must-ready story for Thursday: ESPN’s David Hale on the bond between Florida State running back Devonta Freeman and Syracuse safety Durell Eskridge. The two will play each other for the first time on Saturday after growing extremely close while growing up in a Miami housing project.
It’s an intense read, with details like this:
The defining moment in their friendship came early. Eskridge was talking with some friends near the corner of 15th Avenue, where the boys from the neighborhood would often meet. Freeman had seen some of the boys arguing earlier, and he couldn’t shake the bad feeling lingering in the pit of his stomach. He begged Eskridge to leave — asking again and again. Eventually, Eskridge relented, upset with Freeman for pulling him away.
The two walked just a few yards before a crew from another building turned the corner, guns blasting. The boys ran, the pop-pop-pop of bullets echoing in the background. When the gunfire receded and the boys returned to investigate, the spot where Eskridge had been standing was riddled with bullets.
“If he hadn’t called for me as many times as he did,” Eskridge said, “I probably wouldn’t be here.”
It’s a read that’s well worth your time. I know I’ll be watching for a Freeman-Eskridge meeting on the field Saturday.