More State Football Players of the Year

Imperial running back Royce Freeman is compared by many to be among the greatest in CIF San Diego Section history, including Reggie Bush, Ricky Williams, Rashaan Salaam and Terrell Davis but still too much to compare him to Marcus Allen. Photo courtesy Student Sports.

Imperial running back Royce Freeman is considered by many to be among greatest in San Diego Section history, including Reggie Bush, Ricky Williams, Rashaan Salaam and Terrell Davis but still too much to compare him to Marcus Allen. Photo courtesy Student Sports.

Check inside this post for the honorees who have been chosen among juniors, sophomores, medium schools and small schools. One school has nabbed two of these four player of the year selections.

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Congratulations to the following additional Cal-Hi Sports State Players of the Year for 2013 football season:

Juniors:
Josh Rosen (St. John Bosco, Bellflower)

This was a classic case of choosing between a top-ranked national recruit like Rosen, who already is looking like he’ll be toward the top of every major national recruiting list for quarterbacks for the Class of 2015, and a record-breaking phenom like Folsom’s Jake Browning, who has broken the state single-season passing record twice and still has another season to play.

Both Rosen and Browning were Mr. Football State Player of the Year finalists, but the difference is that Rosen led Bosco to a 20-14 win over De La Salle of Concord in the CIF Open Division bowl game while Browning suffered with three interceptions in a 45-17 loss to the Spartans. Sure, Rosen had a much better team surrounding him, but he’s also a more robust prospect for the next level at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and with excellent ability to escape from pressure and make big plays with his feet.

Despite missing the second half of one game and the entirety of another with a shoulder injury, Rosen completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 3,200 yards and 39 touchdowns. He also rushed for 456 yards and eight more scores. Against De La Salle, he went 12 of 17 for 200 yards and two TDs and rushed seven times for 69 yards, including a 37-yard sprint on a big third down play in the game’s final minute that clinched the historic win.

Among the colleges that are reported with offers for Rosen include Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas, UCLA, USC and Washington.

The last two quarterbacks to be State Junior of the Year were Ryan Kasdorf from Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks in 2007 and Matt Barkley from Mater Dei of Santa Ana in 2006.

Sean McGrew holds CIF Southern Regional Open Division championship plaque. Photo: Scott Kurtz.

Sean McGrew holds CIF Southern Regional Open Division championship plaque. Photo: Scott Kurtz.

Sophomores:
Sean McGrew (St. John Bosco, Bellflower)

With his skill set, quickness and small stature, McGrew may be more like a Wes Welker as his career progresses, which is like a slot receiver. As a running back, however, his emergence to deliver big plays for the 16-0 Braves even as a sophomore was the final missing piece in what became pretty much an unstoppable offense.

Despite not becoming the starter until the third game, McGrew rushed for 2,076 yards and scored 21 TDs. His biggest outing, by far, came in the CIF Southern California Open Division bowl game when he exploded for 372 yards on 17 carries and scored six TDs in a 70-49 win over Corona Centennial. McGrew then had 24 carries for 148 yards against De La Salle, which as many know in Northern California from the last 30 years traditionally gives up very little to opposing running backs.

McGrew and State Junior of the Year Josh Rosen are the first players from St. John Bosco to earn state player of the year recognition in any category. The last sophomore from the Trinity League to be named in this category was Dennis Shoemate from Servite of Anaheim in 2005.

Medium Schools:
Royce Freeman (Imperial)

Yes, Imperial falls into the domain of being a medium school so Freeman became a strong choice to take home the statewide honor in this category.

The CIF San Diego Section Player of the Year – and the first-ever from the Imperial Valley – also was a finalist for our Mr. Football statewide selection. Freeman, a top-ranked national recruit at 6-foot, 227 pounds and an Oregon commit, piled up 7,601 rushing yards in his prep career to obliterate the section record. In just 12 games this season, despite his team getting dominated in the Division II section final by St. Augustine, Freeman also rushed for 2,819 yards.

Freeman had 20 carries for 168 yards in the loss to St. Augustine. Earlier in the season, he churned for 322 yards on 17 carries with five TDs in a win over eventual D4 section champ Sweetwater of National City and he had 38 carries for 311 yards and four scores in a win against Central of El Centro.

The last player from the Imperial Valley to be a state player of the year was Robert Thomas of Imperial for small schools in 1997.

The San Diego Section also has had the top honoree for medium schools for four of the last six years. This includes Pierre Cormier of Madison for last season, Dillon Baxter of Mission Bay for 2009 and Tyler Gaffney from University of San Diego for 2008. Both Baxter and Gaffney also were the overall state players of the year.

Small Schools:
Edgar Segura (Mendota)

He’s been a big name in the CIF Central Section despite the size of his school since his sophomore season when he scored 39 touchdowns and rushed for 2,062 yards.

Segura went on to conclude record-breaking career with a record-breaking season. He finished up at Mendota with 8,029 career rushing yards for a new CIF Central Section record. According to section historian Bob Barnett, Segura also set section single-season records with 3,460 yards and 57 total TDs.

It’s within the state record book, however, where Segura has really made his mark. Although Mendota lost in its last game to Liberty of Madera Ranchos in the CIF Central Section Division IV final, he ended his career with 137 TDs to tie the state record set in 2001 by Lorenzo Booker from St. Bonaventure of Ventura. But Segura also scored 50 PATs on kicks with 14 two-point conversions during his prep career to break Booker’s state career scoring record. With his conversions added in, Segura finished with 900 career points, which is 26 more than Booker had.

Segura’s top single game during his memorable senior season came against Shafter when he bolted for 380 yards on 34 carries and scored seven TDs.

The CIF Central Section also has now had the small schools player of the year in the state for three times in the last five years. Segura follows Tyler Bray of Kingsburg for 2009 and Deontay Greenberry from Washington of Easton for 2011. Greenberry also was the overall state player of the year.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @CalHiSports


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