Playing Career Done, Cinjun Erskine Sets Sights on Coaching

Nov 29, 2017
Courtesy of: Bucknell University

When you’re a 20-year-old athlete, it’s a little hard to come to grips with the fact that your competitive playing days are over. But that’s what former Barnegat High School quarterback Cinjun Erskine was faced with this fall at Bucknell University, where he had hoped to add a new chapter to his football career after arriving as a freshman in 2015.

In that first year, Erskine played in the final four games of season, seeing action on special teams. He made three solo tackles on special teams in his first career game, Oct. 31 against  Lafayette. Although he was also the reserve quarterback, Erskine did not see game action at the position.

After a preseason injury led to two back surgeries during his sophomore year, Erskine made the difficult decision as a junior to hang up his jersey for good. But while this door closed, a new opportunity opened, as the former Bengal took on the role of  student assistant coach at the Lewisburg, Pa., school. It has given him a greater appreciation of the behind-the-scenes work in getting the team prepared.

“I learned how many hours the coaches put in,” said Erskine. “Some nights I was with the coaches breaking down game film until 1 or 2 in the morning.”

He has a mentor in Bobby Acosta, who is the Bison offensive coordinator and also a Barnegat resident.

“He’s teaching me a lot about coaching, from talking to players during the game to getting the team ready,” said Erskline, who threw for 2,664 yards and 23 touchdowns as a Bengal . “He gives me a lot of encouragement and thinks I can succeed in this new position.”  

Erskine, who turned 21 in November, said he is excited about returning for his senior year as a coach.

“This has been a valuable learning experience, and my goal is to one day become a head coach on the collegiate level,” he said. “This is where a lot of successful coaches get their start, as an assistant and then working themselves up to being a coordinator and later a head coach.” 

An education major, Erskine also hopes one day to be a high school guidance counselor.

“Either way, I will be working with youngsters in helping them develop a future,” he said.  

— Eric Englund

ericenglund@thesandpaper.net

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