Bercovici ready to prove ASU's faith in him

Playing sparingly at Westlake (Calif.) HS needless to say that Michael Bercovici was virtually unknown among QB's in the 2011 recruiting class. There wasn't much game film to go by, yet one appearance at an ASU camp last summer convinced the Sun Devil coaching staff to offer Bercovici, who today officially signed his letter of intent with the maroon and gold and will arrive in Tempe next month.

Click here to see Bercovici's LOI signing ceremony

Michael Bercovici played just three games with the Warriors, which prompted him to transfer just a short drive away to Woodland Hills' Taft High School. It was a move that ruffled a lot of feathers among the Westlake fans who weren't shy in expressing their displeasure.

"My family told me that if there wasn't a controversy then people probably didn't think you were that good of a quarterback," Bercovici said. "It is unfortunate that a lot of people had negative things to say, but I think I proved myself on the field.

"My transfer was never about proving myself, but about winning games and going as far as we can as a team."

After the dust concerning his career move started to settle, and before he would ever take his first snap with Toreadors, Bercovici had to further his recruiting status. This wasn't an easy task by any means.

He knew that much like his fellow high school quarterbacks who have aspirations of playing in college, he had to publicize himself and his skills as much as he could. His limited playing time produced a highlight film that contained mostly 7 on 7 drills and other non-pads footage; the signal caller knew that his performance in various off-season combines and camps was vital for him to get noticed by potential suitors.

This recruiting journey brought him to Arizona State among other stops and the rest as they say is history.

"Before I came to the Arizona State camp the coaches told me that they already saw the film I had to offer," Bercovici recalled, "and once I started going through the drills in camp coach Erickson and (offensive coordinator) coach Mazzone watched me like a hawk. They followed everything I did from the way I walked to the way I threw."

ASU was the first school to offer Bercovici which obviously meant a great deal to this player who was laboring on just trying to get recognized among college recruiters. Then again, his relative anonymity went a long way in helping the Sun Devils ultimately secure his services.

"After I committed the (ASU) coaches said that they were lucky I didn't play last year," Bercovici stated, "because they felt that they wouldn't have landed me if I had two years of varsity play. That meant a lot to me that they offered me without me really having junior season film to show them because a lot of other schools were going to wait to offer until they saw me play a few games (as a senior).

"Coach Erickson showed how loyal and honest he was and how much he believed in me."

Most schools respected Bercovici's pledge and stopped pursuing him, yet ASU's Pac-12 foes Washington and Utah were recruiting him during his senior season and eventually backed off as well.

"Just like coach Erickson was honest with me I was going to be honest with him and that's why my commitment was solid," Bercovici said.

So with the transfer saga well behind him, and his college future determined, Bercovici was at ease and ready to demonstrate to both his critics and supporters his true football prowess.

Taft had a 9-4 record in the 2010 campaign, and reached their section CIF semi-finals. Bercovici completed 61 percent of his passes that season for 3,755 yards and 38 touchdowns, and also posted eight interceptions. In his first and only season with Toreadors he broke every single season quarterback record in Taft's history, aside from touchdown passes where he came just one score short of the record.

"With the big play book we had, and the great wide receivers we had, I think a lot of people did expect us to have a good year," Bercovici noted. "But I was amazed at some of the games that I had and obviously I give a lot of credit to my receivers and offensive line.

"It does go to show that as a quarterback when you are in the right system with the right coaches and players you can make a lot of good things happen. The entire offense broke a lot of Taft records. We had over 6,400 yards which is a school record and that is just crazy. It was expected that our offense was going to carry us but it is still crazy to see what kind of numbers we had."

In an ASU offense where a quarterback's quick release and accuracy is at a premium, the Sun Devil staff had told Bercovici that he certainly demonstrated those traits this past season, as well as his ability to deliver the ball in tight spots. The quarterback was also praised for his patience and confidence in the pocket, as well as his good decision making.

"After watching some of ASU's games on TV this year I understood why they liked me so much," Bercovici explained. "This offense has a lot of quick passes, a lot of bubble screen passes and balls getting out to the perimeter and those are things I did well at Taft. I was showing the ASU coaches some of my high school film and showing them the plays I ran there and why I ran them and they were very impressed with how much I knew the ASU offense because I understood the concepts that I was running.

"At Taft we also ran a spread, no-huddle offense so that obviously helped me. So having that year of experience at Taft and coming to a school that runs the same offense is something that is really going to help me a lot."

Bercovici acknowledged that he needed to still work on speed so it can complement his good footwork and quickness in the pocket. Additionally, he would like to get stronger and improve his field vision.

Having visited Tempe on three different occasions, and with his older sister already attending ASU, Sun Devil country truly feels like a second home for Michael Bercovici and one he can't wait to settle into when he enrolls in school a month from now.

"Graduating early and coming in the spring shows how committed you are to playing at the next level," Bercovici said. "Coach Mazzone is so eager to teach me the offense and getting there early and going through spring ball will help me that much more. Competing with the great quarterbacks they already have will only make me better, and going through winter conditioning will help me get stronger and faster.

"I'm here for a purpose and that is to help this team win some games. Getting here early will help a lot and when the season starts in the fall I'll probably won't feel like a freshman anymore because I'll have that early jump coming in here in the spring."

The ASU coaches took a flier on Bercovici offering a relatively inexperienced signal caller and the quarterback has started to validate that decision with his senior season performance. The Sun Devils' newest official member of the 2011 class is anxious to continue and reward the staff for their decision last summer.

"I can't wait to start working with coach Erickson and coach Mazzone," Bercovici commented. "They are the most honest coaches that I have ever met and the fact that they pulled the trigger on me after that camp and didn't wait to see how I do my senior season like other coaches wanted to, showed that they really believed in me.

"I know I have a great opportunity to come into ASU, learn that offense and hopefully become an impact player as quickly as I can."

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