Lee's Summit's Berkstresser stands tall
By Nick McCabe PrepsKC Staff Writer
It is fair to say Lee’s Summit quarterback Corbin Berkstresser is a life-long fan of the Missouri Tigers. So when they offered him a football scholarship he took all of about a day to decide Mizzou was the place for him to continue his career.
“Growing up I was always a Tigers fan,” Berkstresser said. “Everybody in my family went to Mizzou. It was one of my dreams.”
Last year as a junior, Bersktresser led Lee’s Summit to their first playoff appearance in over 20 years. This season the Tigers have a new coach in Eric Thomas who has installed a no-huddle spread offense that is really showcasing Berkstresser’s talents.
“It’s a different style,” Berkstresser said. “Coach has thrown a lot at me. It’s no-huddle with four and five wide. I think it’s a lot better for me seeing the field.”
“Obviously he’s got some physical tools,” Thomas said, “and he’s really coming along with the mental aspect of it. We’ve gotten to the point where we’re allowing him to check things at the line of scrimmage and understand what the defenses are doing. He’s continuing to get better.”
Thomas knows he was fortunate to inherit a player with Berkstresser’s skills.
“Obviously it’s been a blessing taking the job for the first year with a quarterback like that,” Thomas said. “His leadership with the kids and his ability to learn has been huge.”
Berkstresser has already thrown for over 2,000 yards and 22 touchdowns in his senior season and thinks going to the spread this year will help ease his transition to a similar offense at MU.
“With Coach Thomas introducing this offense,” Berkstresser said, “I feel like I’ve got a head start going to Missouri. He’s taught me to read defenses like never before.”
Berkstresser committed in June of 2009, the summer before his junior year. Perhaps because he ended his recruitment so early and he is so big and athletic, there have been whispers Berkstresser may change positions in college. However, those rumors seem to be baseless at this point.
“Everything that I’ve heard from those guys is they’re planning on him playing quarterback,” Thomas said.
“They really haven’t said much about me switching positions,” Berkstresser added.
Count Rivals.com recruiting analyst among the skeptics that Missouri has secret plans to convert Berkstresser to a receiver or tight end.
“No, in fact he is their quarterback recruit for this class,” Crabtree said. “They’re really excited about him. Offensive Coordinator David Yost had the opportunity to evaluate a lot of good quarterbacks in Missouri and this is the one they chose. And there are some good ones out there in the Show-Me State and the other areas they recruit in. So he’s going to get every opportunity to play quarterback at Mizzou.”
Another sign that points to rumors of a position switch being inaccurate is Mizzou has no reason to be anything but up front with Berkstresser about their plans for him. His commitment is 100 percent solid no matter what his future position ends up being and he’s already prioritizing the needs of his future squad over his personal ambitions.
“I’m going to try to be a quarterback there,” Berkstresser said, “but if they want me to play tight end or wide receiver or whatever, it’s whatever it takes for the team to win.”
“If they asked him to play a different position I don’t think he’d care,” Thomas said. “He’s a big, physical, athletic player so he could play wide receiver or tight end. I think he could adapt to anything.”
For now, Berkstresser is focused on getting his team into the postseason for the second straight year. Lee’s Summit suffered a setback in that effort last week when they lost 45-21 to 7-1 Lee’s Summit West, but the 5-4 Tigers now have a district game left against 2-7 Ruskin. One more win will get them in the playoffs as the district runner-up and Berkstresser hopes a couple of wins would lead to a rematch with the cross-town Titans.
“We want to get to the playoffs,” he stated as goal number one. “Always strive for state. Then maybe bring Lee’s Summit West back to our place and see if we
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