After the 2010 recruiting class yielded zero quarterback signees, Danny Hope now has four in the 2012 class. Erich Berzinskas, a 6-5 signal caller from Clinton, Connecticut, has pledged to Purdue as a preferred walk-on.
Berzinskas is a post-graduate commit, but will be eligible to play next season. He played his high school ball in Connecticut, but decided to attend Milford Academy in New York for one year of prep school rather than going straight to college. Note: Milford Academy has a long history of producing college football players, including current Purdue player Ken Plue. It is common for players to attend prep schools like Milford Academy in hopes of catching the eye of a college scout.
Rivals.com ranks Berzinskas as a two star recruit. He has not been evaluated by ESPN or Scout.com. He also garnered interest from Iowa, Connecticut, and Temple, although Rivals.com does not report that Berzinskas received any scholarship offers.
During his prep career at Milford Academy, Berzinskas passed for 633 yards on 40 completions of 82 attempts. He threw six touchdowns and two interceptions while earning offensive player of the game on September 4th. Just an educated guess here, but he likely split time at quarterback and was not the full-time starter.
Highschool film: When evaluating his April 2011 offseason workout (video LINK), you’ll see that he has a live arm and shows great accuracy in the showcased drills. He also shows similarly impressive marksmanship in Elite 11 drills from April 2010 (video LINK).
Milford Academy film: Berzinskas has the benefit of a year of maturity and playing on a roster loaded with Division-1 players. He shows a lot of arm strength and gives Milford’s playmakers a chance to leap for downfield catches (video LINK). Berzinskas looks to have all of the physical tools, including good touch on many of his deep throws. Like in his practice drills, he shows a lot of zip on his flatter passes.
The bottom line: Berzinskas could be a guy that slipped through his cracks. For whatever reason, he wasn’t happy with his opportunities after his high school career. Perhaps he was overlooked and Purdue is getting a steal. Or maybe he’ll just be a career practice player. It’s very difficult to assess tangibles in highlight films, but he does show the physical tools of a BCS level quarterback. One thing is for sure: Purdue will have intense competition among its quarterbacks during the next few years from the likes of Austin Appleby, Bilal Marshall, Sean Robinson, Aloyis Gray, and Erich Berzinskas.