ASU football’s team captain and starting quarterback Mike Bercovici has quite a lot on his plate as a student-athlete. And yet, he still makes time to call his family every single day.
Bercovici, who refers to himself as a “momma’s boy,” credits a lot of his leadership qualities to his parents.
“I believe that my father shaped me into the person I am,” says Bercovici. “I was blessed to have role models for parents regarding leadership, heart, compassion and honesty; all traits which come from my parents.”
They have a very strong relationship, with his father mainly supporting him through his athletic career, while his mother upheld high expectations in his academics.
In a Fox Sports interview, Ben Bercovici, the QB’s father, told a story from Mike’s middle school days. The two were at a prospect camp, walking off the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum field, home of the USC Trojans, when Mike told his father that he would one day play on that field.
On October 4, 2014, in a game against USC, his childhood aspirations were finally realized. With his team trailing in the final seconds, Bercovici threw up a prayer. And it was answered as the ball fell into the hands of Jaelen Strong for a game-winning touchdown.
“We [had]practiced the play and all I wanted to do was throw it as high and far as possible,” Bercovici says. “When it was caught, there was a weird silence in the stadium. I remember falling to the ground out of sheer emotion and exhaustion.
“I grew up watching USC football and to be the opponent walking out of the tunnel was surreal. It was exciting to walk onto that field carrying the weight of our team and so many people that helped me get to where I am today,” he says.
But Bercovici is much more than part of ASU’s football history. The ASU redshirt senior quarterback is a leader both on the field and in the classroom. This two-time Pac-12 All-Academic honoree has contributed over 50 hours of community service and maintained a GPA above a 3.0 throughout all of his years at ASU. He was also named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy earlier this year, which recognizes the best scholar athlete in the nation.
And to think, ASU almost lost him. In 2014, Bercovici was given many opportunities to leave ASU. He was second quarterback to Taylor Kelly last season, but was good enough to start elsewhere.
“You can really tell Mike cares about ASU,” says Bill Kennedy, associate athletic director at ASU. “When he didn’t get the starting quarterback job a few years back he could have left, but he didn’t. He stayed loyal and became a great ambassador for the team.”
Bercovici says he couldn’t leave the school because it felt wrong. “[ASU] has done so much for me, both on and off the field, that it gave me a pit in my stomach when [I was] thinking about wearing another team’s color.”
Athletic Director Ray Anderson has always spoken highly of Bercovici and his dedication. “Mike is both selfless and determined, two qualities that any great leader must possess. He knows adversity and what it takes to overcome it.”
His loyalty to Arizona doesn’t end there. Bercovici says he sees himself living in Scottsdale and hopefully one day playing in the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals.
He really has left a lasting impression on those who he has crossed paths with in his time in Tempe.
“[Bercovici] is one of those guys you’re lucky to call a friend because he seems to do everything right and you just want to emulate that,” says Parker Flynn, former ASU kicker and best friend of Bercovici. “I just know this kid is going to go places even after his football playing days are over.”