BC takes new route to fill need for QB

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / June 10, 2009
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The names weren't on anyone's recruiting list. At least not any current list. Names like Greg Paulus, who had decided a basketball career at Duke would take precedence over continuing to play football. Or Mike Rozier, who played high school football in Georgia but committed to a baseball career in the Red Sox organization that ended in April. And like Dave Shinskie, who in the fall of 2002 was a blue-chip quarterback playing for Mount Carmel (Pa.) High School, compiling a record of 41-6 while throwing for 6,334 yards and 57 touchdowns.

But Shinskie also chose the baseball route, pocketing a nice bonus as a fourth-round pick with the Minnesota Twins, and as his father said yesterday by phone from Pennsylvania, "There weren't any 6-foot-6-inch, 300-pound linemen rushing the pitcher's mound."

That could change in the fall, as the 25-year-old Shinskie returns to football as the latest entry in the Boston College QB derby after verbally committing to the Eagles over the weekend.

With last season's quasi-starter, Dominique Davis, leaving BC for academic reasons, coach Frank Spaziani and his staff were left with no quarterbacks on the depth chart who had taken a snap in college. Not redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle or fullback/quarterback Codi Boek or wide receiver Billy Flutie, who had hoped to revive his career at QB.

Spaziani said he would check out any lead for an answer, which meant looking at veterans in other sports who had put their football careers on hold. Paulus intrigued them, but the Atlantic Coast Conference told the Eagles that transfers within the conference were not permitted, so Paulus will resume his football career at Syracuse in the fall.

Rozier, who was released by the Red Sox in April, was another possibility, but Tennessee grabbed him. He began summer classes in Knoxville last week.

Shinskie, 6 feet 4 inches, 215 pounds, doesn't have any experience either, but he is a new face with potential and the life experience of spending six years in baseball's minor leagues.

"We thought things would work out," said Shinskie's father yesterday. "But when it didn't, Dave began the process of looking at a college again. He had committed to Delaware coming out of high school, but we wanted to look at what was available this time."

He had signed with the Twins and climbed as high as Double A before moving to the Toronto organization this year. He was released this spring.

Shinskie, who had received offers from Delaware, Temple, Iowa, Indiana, and Toledo in high school, looked at Temple, Rutgers, and Pittsburgh this time. And he also looked at BC, taking a visit last week.

The fit seemed right for him, and it definitely felt right for the Eagles, who weren't desperate but could be described as anxious after spring practice raised more questions about the position.

Officially, BC cannot comment on a verbal commitment until the paperwork is filed. The process should be completed in the next two weeks, and Shinskie should be enrolled in summer school and taking part in informal drills (without coaches) until August when training camp opens.

Shinskie said he can't wait.

"It's going to be a challenge, no question, going to class, working out," he said by phone from Pennsylvania. "People are going to push me, no question. But I'm not worried."

At 25, Shinskie will not have to deal with the transition period that most students endure their first year in college.

"I'm pretty sure they aren't going to put me in a freshman dorm," said Shinskie, who said he made his first trip to Boston earlier this spring with his girlfriend, dining at The Capital Grille. "Baseball is like a job compared to football. I think this is a great opportunity. I'm hoping to go in there and learn and compete."'

Mark Blaudschun can be reached at