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Stepping Up
Kelley King
March 31, 2003
Transfer Brock Berlin is taking his shot at the Miami quarterback job
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March 31, 2003

Stepping Up

Transfer Brock Berlin is taking his shot at the Miami quarterback job

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New Beginnings

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.

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 I-A 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 different."

Berlin has been in few such situations in the last three years. He has thrown only 87 career passes, mostly in mop-up 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."

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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