'Bosnian War Hammer' takes walk-on spot at USF
We made "hammer" jokes when offensive lineman Thor Jozwiak committed to USF back in August, but now the Bulls will have a freshman offensive lineman with an actual hammer nickname, and a last name even more daunting to opposing public address announcers. Meet Mak Djulbegovic, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound tackle from Carrollwood Day School who has accepted an offer to join the Bulls as a preferred walk-on this fall.
"I'm excited to get started -- it's nice to be close to home, and I thought it'd be a good opportunity," said Djulbegovic, who didn't take up football until the eighth grade, playing basketball and tennis before that.
His nickname, according to CDS coach Lane McLaughlin, is the Bosnian War Hammer -- both his parents are from Bosnia, though in truth, Mak was born in Kentucky. And before we get any farther here, the pronunciation isn't that hard -- juh-BAY-go-vitch.
Djulbegovic was CDS's left tackle last fall, though he also saw time at defensive end and even tight end. McLaughlin said in one game late in the season, with the ball at the opponents' 30-yard-line, he inserted Djulbegovic at fullback and gave him the ball five plays in a row, resulting in a touchdown.
"And he's just a puppy," said McLaughlin, noting that Djulbegovic is only 17 and a year ahead of schedule in school -- he's smart enough to attend USF on a Bright Futures scholarship and plans to major in engineering. He won't be the first Djulbegovic at USF -- his father, Benjamin, is a distinguished professor of medicine and oncology, working at USF and Moffitt Cancer Center for the past 12 years.
Djulbegovic is athletic enough to run track -- not the discus or shot, as most linemen do -- "not many left tackles run the 800," said McLaughlin, though his lineman used this spring to focus in the weight room, adding 15 pounds in the last three months.
Carrollwood Day School is best known for having former Bucs coach Jon Gruden as an occasional assistant -- his son Deuce is a rising senior quarterback there -- but Djulbegovic was coached by another guy with NFL ties: former Bucs guard and NFL first-round draft pick Luke Petitgout, who volunteered on the CDS staff last fall.
Djulbegovic has met with Skip Holtz and line coach Steve Shankweiler and will start summer classes at USF in late June with the rest of the incoming class, fully expecting to redshirt his first year in the program. McLaughlin said he isn't sure if Holtz can fit Djulbegovic under the 105-player roster limit for two-a-days, but he'll definitely be there when the roster opens up to 115 players on the first day of fall classes.
It won't hurt the Bulls to develop a relationship with CDS -- their running back, rising junior Robert Davis, is already getting major attention, as is 2013 tight end Dominiq Sicardo, and there's a future star in current freshman Adonis Welch, who is 6-foot-6 and 240 and should take Djulbegovic's spot at left tackle. Those two played basketball together this spring.