TAMPA — It is an unconventional match for the final weekend of football recruiting: USF, which likely will not sign a quarterback next week, will host Jesuit senior Tommy Eveld, who still hopes to see a Division I-A scholarship for 2012 come his way.
Both are in a predicament. USF saw a commitment back out and enroll at Wake Forest. And the 6-foot-5 Eveld, who threw 20 touchdowns and completed 65 percent of his passes in the fall, has drawn little interest from I-A schools. USF has offered him a spot as a preferred walk-on (a guaranteed roster spot without having to try out like other walk-ons), which might be the best solution for both.
"Right now, I'm pretty serious about being a walk-on at USF," Eveld said. "I'm trying to stay open. I'm going to wait until after signing day (Wednesday) to make a decision just to see if anything opens up."
USF coach Skip Holtz is not allowed to comment on recruits until they are signed.
It's a path both sides know well. Two years ago, Tommy's brother Bobby joined the Bulls as a walk-on and showed enough to be B.J. Daniels' backup as a freshman and helped lead a win over Miami.
He earned a scholarship at the end of his first semester on campus. Tommy has spent time around the team, so there's familiarity and the comfort of being close to home.
Western Kentucky has offered him a grayshirt (a scholarship but not until January 2013). And he's being recruited by smaller schools including Division II Merrimack (North Andover, Mass.) and Division III John Carroll (near Cleveland). But this weekend could solidify the Bulls as his option to beat.
"I know the coaches. I almost feel when I'm there I'm kind of at home," Eveld said of USF. "Hopefully, I can end up doing the same thing Bobby did. I know a few of the players on the team now from hanging out with Bobby on weekends."
Bobby is an engineering major, and Tommy is interested in civil engineering or marine biology, two areas where USF would be an academic match. The Eveld family knows USF well. Last year, older sister Tiffany was honored by USF's College of Business in its "25 Under 25" program.
The brothers, two years apart in age, haven't played on the same team since Tommy, now 18, was 5 or 6 in youth league baseball. After a redshirt year, Tommy would be a freshman during Bobby's senior year, potentially as the Bulls starter.
"I think it would be a great fit for him to go to USF and learn from his brother," Jesuit coach James Harrell said.
"(Recruiting) is a tough process for quarterbacks. But … he did everything we asked him to do running our offense."
Jesuit offensive coordinator Ty Alvarez said Eveld didn't have much visibility as a one-year starter but said he's "perplexed" at the lack of attention.
"You can't coach 6 feet 5 and the work ethic he has," Alvarez said. "He has all the intangibles you look for in a quarterback. He loves to watch film. He's very cerebral. His footwork is good. He can make all the throws. It's kind of an anomaly to me."
Since landing Daniels out of Tallahassee in 2008, USF hasn't had much luck in recruiting quarterbacks. Jamius Gunsby, one of Holtz's first signings, was gone after one season and is out of college football. Stevie Weatherford and Tyler Cameron backed out of oral commitments over the past two years, leaving only Eveld and redshirt freshman Matt Floyd as scholarship quarterbacks who will be back in 2013.
Tommy Eveld hasn't made an official visit, so taking that step closer to playing college football this weekend is something he's looking forward.
"I'm definitely excited about it," he said.
Weatherford moves: Weatherford, a former Land O'Lakes High star, enrolled at Lindenwood, a Division II school near St. Louis. This past season, he redshirted at Cincinnati. He will be eligible to play in the fall.
Greg Auman can be reached at [email protected]