Boston College received a commitment on Saturday from 25-year-old quarterback David Shinskie, a former star at Mount Carmel High School in Pennsylvania who spent the past six years playing minor league baseball.
Shinskie, who hasn't played football since the East-West Shrine game in June, 2003, had originally signed a letter of intent to play football and baseball at Delaware but was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the fourth round that year. He pitched for six years in Double-A before joining the Toronto Blue Jays' minor league system. Shinskie was released three weeks ago but said he didn't want to stop competing.
"I didn't think that my career is over in sports," Shinskie said. "I figured I have four years of eligibility left. I may as well go to a good school and get an education and play football at the same time.
"I've always been a competitive guy," he said. "I've been playing sports my whole life. When a door closes and another opportunity opens, I'm just going to try my best when I go there."
It was perfect timing for the Eagles, who are in dire need of a starting quarterback. Dominique Davis, the lone quarterback on the roster who had any starting experience, announced his decision to transfer about a week ago after he was suspended for academics. That move left first-year coach Frank Spaziani without a quarterback who had ever thrown a pass in an ACC game.
Neither has Shinskie, though, and the Boston College staff hasn't promised him a starting job. He'll have to compete with Codi Boek, a former junior college transfer who was playing fullback a year ago, and Justin Tuggle, who redshirted last year but didn't separate himself from the pack this spring. Also in the mix are Alexander Atiyeh, who redshirted last year, and Mike Marscovetra, a true freshman who will join the team this summer.
Shinskie said he isn't worried about fitting in. He's already had an official visit and met some of the players.
"I've always been the kind of guy who gets along pretty quickly with people," he said. "I think it's not going to be a problem when I go in there. Hopefully they'll take to me. I'll go in there with an open mind and hopefully they will, too."
An official transcript was sent to Boston College on Monday, and Shinskie's acceptance process has already begun. The Boston College staff can't comment, though, until Shinskie's paperwork is complete.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound drop-back passer said he's not quite in football shape yet. He's been running and throwing the ball but hasn't been lifting much. Mike Brennan, his former high school coach, said Shinskie will be ready.
"He's a professional athlete," Brennan said. "What I've noticed the last few years when he came home is his work ethic. He would stand in front of the mirror in the weight room and just work out of a stretch for 20 minutes. He was very meticulous about everything he did. ... As a 25-year-old man at this point, you're dealing with a totally different animal."
Rutgers and Pitt also wanted Shinskie to visit, according to his father, along with Temple and Syracuse. The unique situation at Boston College, though, allowed Shinskie the most realistic shot at actual playing time.
"I'm looking to start at Boston College," he said.
Brennan, seems convinced his former signal caller has what it takes. Shinskie started 47 games at Mount Carmel, and the Red Tornadoes went 41-6 during that stretch. Shinskie had eight career 200-yard passing games and led Mount Carmel to a 15-0 record and a state title in 2002. He completed 160-of-250 passes for 2,524 yards and 26 touchdowns with 13 interceptions.
"As a quarterback, he just has that confidence you never see high school kids have," Brennan said. "He's very comfortable in what he does."
Brennan, who coached Shinskie for three years at Mount Carmel, made a phone call on Shinskie's behalf to Boston College tight ends coach Dave Brock. The two knew each other through ties to Temple. Brennan and Shinskie have kept in close contact.
For the past five years, Shinskie would go back to Mount Carmel and every Tuesday and Wednesday in September he would throw against their defense during practices.
"He's so much better now than he was then," Brennan said. "He's so streamlined physically, he's so natural and so smooth. He's a steal. He's an absolute steal for Boston College."
Heather Dinich covers college sports for ESPN.com.