TAMPA -- It is an unconventional match for the final weekend of football recruiting: USF, which will likely not sign a quarterback next week, will play host to Jesuit senior Tommy Eveld, who is still hoping to see a football scholarship come his way.
Both are in an unlikely predicament -- USF had a commitment back out and enroll at Wake Forest, and Eveld hasn't drawn the recruiting interest you'd expect from a 6-foot-5 passer who threw for 20 touchdowns and completed 65 percent of his passes last fall. USF has offered him a spot on its roster as a preferred walk-on, which might be the best solution for both sides.
"Right now, I'm pretty serious about being a walk-on at USF," Eveld said. "I'm trying to say open. I'm going to wait until after signing day (Wednesday) to make a decision, just to see if anything opens up."
It's a path that 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' top backup as a true freshman, earning a scholarship from Skip Holtz at the end of his first semester on campus. Tommy has spent time around the team with his brother, so there's familiarity and the comfort of being close to home.
Western Kentucky has offered him a grayshirt, or deferred enrollment until January 2013, and he's being recruited by smaller schools like Merrimack and John Carroll, 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," Tommy said. "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."
Just as Bobby is an engineering major at USF, Tommy is interested in civil engineering or marine biology, two areas where USF would be an academic match. The Eveld family knows USF well -- older sister Tiffany was honored last year by USF's College of Business in its "25 Under 25" program last year. The brothers, just two years apart in age, haven't played on the same team together 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 Wednesday. "(Recruiting) is a tough process for quarterbacks, but he has size, he can throw the ball, and he did everything we asked him to do running our offense."
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 after taking the USF job, was gone after one season and is now out of college football; two others, Stevie Weatherford and Tyler Cameron, have backed out of oral commitments in the last two years, leaving only Eveld and redshirt freshman Matt Floyd as scholarship quarterbacks who will be back in 2013.
USF can only hope to have the same walk-on luck with the younger Eveld, remembering how Bobby came off the bench to help USF to a historic win at Miami in 2010. Tommy Eveld hasn't been brought in on an official visit before, so taking that step closer to playing college football is something he's looking forward to this weekend.
"I'm definitely excited about it," he said.