Transfer Brock Berlin is taking his shot at the Miami quarterback
Forced to endure bruised egos, severed friendships and, per NCAA
rules, an entire season on the sidelines, transfers have it
rough. But Miami's Brock Berlin, considered to be the top high
school quarterback four years ago, faces an additional challenge
at his new school. After deciding in December 2001 to leave
Florida, where he failed to win the starting job in his first two
seasons, Berlin could have sleepwalked into the starting role at
any number of other Division IA programs that coveted him while
he starred at Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, La.
Instead he chose Miami, at which he must now beat out three other
blue-chippers to replace Heisman Trophy finalist Ken Dorsey, who
was 38--2 as a starter.
So why does Berlin seem a shade less stressed than a guy playing
a game of Pop-A-Shot? After the Hurricanes' first spring
practice, on March 18, the junior shrugged and smiled when asked
about being the focal point of Quarterback U's first quarterback
race since 1995. "You could say I'm used to the whole
spring-competition deal," says Berlin, who is battling junior
Derrick Crudup, who threw 26 passes last year; redshirt freshman
Marc Guillon; and true freshman Kyle Wright. "There's no use
worrying about the other guys. I gotta just do my thing."
The 6'1", 209-pound Berlin is considered the front-runner to win
the job, because he throws a crisp, deadly accurate ball--just
what Miami's pro-style offense demands. Less than a week after he
received his release from the Gators, Berlin called Hurricanes
coach Larry Coker, who had recruited Berlin in high school and
was delighted to finally land him.
Although Miami coaches insist that they aren't going to name a
starter until the April 5 spring game, they have nothing but
praise for Berlin. "After all that he's been through, I
half-expected him to come in with a negative attitude," says
quarterbacks coach Dan Werner. "Instead he made friends with
everybody and one 'wow' throw after another on our scout team
last year." Even Dorsey, who attended last week's practice, seems
impressed. "Every pass is right where he wants it to be, and he
clearly understands the X's and O's," said Dorsey. "But, of
course, once you get into a game situation, everything is
Berlin has been in few such situations in the last three years.
He has thrown only 87 career passes, mostly in mopup duty. As
luck would have it, if he wins the starting job, his debut will
come on Aug. 30 against Louisiana Tech in Shreveport, a few miles
from where he became a state legend. "His hardest task will be
winning the job," says his former high school coach, Dennis Dunn.
"Once he does that and those lights turn on, you'll see something
trigger in Brock Berlin."
COLOR PHOTO: BILL FRAKES (TOP) Berlin, a former Gator, is in a four-way battle to replace Heisman finalist Ken Dorsey.
COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL CONROY/AP
Here are five other high-profile transfers who are eager to prove
that they are ready to play starring roles at their new schools.
Name, Pos., Year Old School New School
Manaia Brown, DL, So. NEBRASKA BYU
The 6'4", 310-pound Brown, a reserve at Nebraska in 2001, should
make an immediate impact for the Cougars.
Brandon Hance (right), QB, Jr. PURDUE USC
A starter at Purdue before getting benched in '01, Hance is in a
four-way race to replace Carson Palmer.
Matt LoVecchio, QB, Jr. NOTRE DAME INDIANA
The front-runner for the Hoosiers' starting job, LoVecchio threw
for 1,267 yards in two years at Notre Dame.
Chad Scott, TB, Jr. KENTUCKY NORTH CAROLINA
Scott, who led Kentucky with 611 rushing yards in '00, could
provide a much-needed boost to the Tar Heels' offense.
Eric Shelton, RB, So. FLORIDA STATE LOUISVILLE
A Parade All-America from Lexington, Shelton left Tallahassee
for the chance to shine in his home state.