March 23, 2012

Rams land commit no. 1

Following numerous reports Friday afternoon that CSU head basketball coach Tim Miles was expected to leave town, Colorado State fans were in need of some good news. They got some from an unexpected source Friday evening.

Grand Junction (Colo.) Grand Junction defensive end Austin Berk verbally committed to Jim McElwain and his staff following a late afternoon spring practice.

"I told the new D-line coach (Greg Lupfer) first, then coach (Marty) English, then Coach Mac," said Berk, who was in Fort Collins for Saturday's Junior Day.

What was their reaction?

"Coach Mac was extremely excited. He basically jumped out of his shoes and he hugged me. He was just really happy. All the coaches were excited. You could tell that they really wanted me to be there."

So, what sold the Colorado first team all-state selection to pledge to the Green and Gold?

"I just feel like it's a place I need to play. I feel comfortable - I love the town because it's so much like where I'm from, and I just felt ready to (commit). I'm kind of ready for my life to start going in the way I want it to go and I'm ready for the new steps in my life. I feel like it's where I should play and I feel comfortable in my decision."

Colorado State was the first school to offer Berk a scholarship earlier this month. Air Force and South Dakota State followed suit soon after with offers of their own.

Berk, though, said he likely won't visit any other schools this spring or in the summer because he plans to remain solid in his verbal commitment to the Rams.

"I don't feel like I have to prove myself to anybody else or get recruited anymore. CSU is a program on the rise and I feel like I can help get them to where they need be."

The 6-foot-5, 235 pound defensive end is regarded as one of the top overall prospects in the state of Colorado for 2013, regardless of position. Berk had 10.5 sacks, 52 tackles, an interception, and four batted passes for one of the state's best teams last year.

With his commitment, he becomes the first known pledge in CSU's Class of 2013. Berk plans on graduating this December so he can enroll early next spring. He said he anticipates on majoring in either business management or engineering at CSU.

Ryan Krous is the publisher of You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @RyanKrous for all the latest and breaking Colorado State news.

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