It's an obscure talent, but the USF Bulls' compliance folks have a knack for landing NCAA hardship waivers -- the latest good news for the Bulls is that tight end Mike McFarland, a transfer from Florida who went to Tampa's Blake High School, has been granted a waiver allowing him to play this fall and have a full four years of eligibility at USF.
McFarland, a coveted recruit out of high school with great size at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, helps the Bulls at a thin position, with Kevin Gidrey and Andrew Ketchel graduated from last year's team and potential starter Jeff Hawkins out with a season-ending knee injury this summer. McFarland had cited an undisclosed family illness as his reason for seeking a waiver after transferring to be closer to home.
McFarland looked sharp in preseason, showing a receiver's quickness with a frame that will cause mismatches against opposing linebackers. He'll start the season behind juniors Evan Landi and Andreas Shields, competing with sophomore Isaac Virgin for playing time and giving B.J. Daniels another big target downfield.
USF's heyday for hardship waivers was in 2006-07, when the Bulls got six for football in a two-year span, including multi-year starters in guard Ryan Schmidt (Kansas State) and linebacker Tyrone McKenzie (Iowa State).