March 6, 2012

Rams first to offer in-state stud

The Centennial State isn't lacking for talent in the Class of 2013 and the Colorado State coaching staff is off to a fast start in trying to convince the best of the best within the state of Colorado to declare CSU as their college of choice.

While the Rams' coaching staff has made in-state recruiting a priority, only offensive lineman Dan Skipper was recently listed with an offer, according to the Rivals.com database.

That changed over the weekend. The Rams hosted an unofficial visitor, Grand Junction (Colo.) Grand Junction defensive end Austin Berk, and towards the end of his visit in a one-on-one conversation with Coach Mac he received that coveted first scholarship offer.

"When I showed up I met with the coaches and they took me on a tour of the facilities and around campus a little bit. After that I sat down with the head coach: Coach Mac. We talked for a little bit and then he offered me a scholarship," he said.

The defensive end, who also excels on offense at tight end, has long been on the radar of college coaches due to his production in getting after the quarterback. Berk led his Tigers team to a number one ranking in Colorado's 5A classification and a berth into the state semifinals and finished third in sacks in 5A with ten and a half. He also had 52 tackles, an interception, and four batted balls from his defensive end position.

At 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, the senior-to-be collected some of the state's top honors, including being a Denver Post All-State defensive lineman in 2011 and Rivals Colorado Junior First Team All-State defender.

Along with his production, Berk also has the physical tools that college coaches look for.

"I think just how big I am in general is my biggest (asset). I'm very tall and I'm pretty quick, so I feel like that helps."

On the recruiting front, he has been in contact with coaches from Colorado State and Colorado and visited both schools unofficially. CSU co-defensive coordinator Marty English has been Berk's primary recruiter for the Rams. Berk also said he has been hearing from Ivy League schools and he received mail from Notre Dame and Arizona State just after his trip to CSU this weekend.

Camping at several colleges is at the top of his priority list this summer. Berk plans to camp at Utah, Colorado State, Boise State, Colorado, Notre Dame, and likely a few others that he has yet to decide on.

Berk said in-state schools CSU and CU are atop his preliminary list of favorites.

"CSU is up there, they're probably one of my top two schools. They're probably at my top right now actually."

Does he plan on making a college decision soon?

"I don't know, but whenever I feel 100 percent with my decision I will."

However, the stud defensive end has determined he will graduate in December of 2012 so he can enroll a semester early in college.

"I have to make my decision a little early because I'm coming out of high school earlier."

Many prospects have a dream school of playing for growing up, but as for Berk?

"My dream school? I don't know, I haven't really thought about it actually."


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