Since the AFL and NFL combined drafts in 1967, not one undrafted rookie quarterback has started in week one. Former Clovis West star Jeff Tuel could very well break that trend in a week and a half for the Buffalo Bills. It's all a little surreal for the quarterback, his family and old high school coach.
Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone said Wednesday, "He's the quarterback that's out there, we got to prepare for him to be that guy, until the situation changes and we get E.J. (Manuel) back."
The "he" Marrone is talking about spent the last 36 hours as an internet trending topic in Jeopardy format - as in, 'who is Jeff Tuel?'
Marty Martin, who coached Tuel at Clovis West, says "He's just a tremendous young man. Always been very humble, he's never been one of those kids that it's all about me."
Martin also remembers that even as a junior, Tuel never questioned playing JV, while Cal commit Beau Sweeney ran the varsity.
Tuel's dad, also Jeff, says the obvious yet effective "Tuel Time" moniker coined at Wazzu has been paired with "Joe Cool Jeff Tuel" in Buffalo, to the point where teammates ask in meetings, "WWJC - What Would Joe Cool Do?"
His son also didn't want to jinx himself before he made the 53 man roster, so he's gone without permanent living arrangements or a car, although Jeff Sr. says "we're working on that." A good idea, now that it looks like Tuel will start in a week and a half against Tom Brady, whose action figure ornament has been hanging on the family Christmas tree for years. He's also now the teacher around new Bills signee Matt Leinart.
Regarding that, Jeff says "Last time I saw Matt, I was watching him in the Rose Bowl, in the national championship playing Texas and I was in the stands, I was like in 8th grade or something."
Jeff Sr. says, "The story and him being in the situation he's in and finds himself in today is quite remarkable."
Nobody has a better answer for all this than Jeff himself though, who recently tweeted, "It's not about what you did, it's about what you are doing."