The 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior from Bakersfield Christian wasn’t able to add a CIF Division IV state title in basketball to the one he celebrated in December in D3-A in football, but he led the Eagles to a SoCal regional title and he was the Bakersfield Californian Player of the Year in both sports. Ben also joins a great grid-hoop tradition of players like him who’ve gone to Stanford (including a future teammate from Newport Beach).
Note: We’ve been selecting grid-hoop all-state teams since the 1986-1987 school year when the San Diego Section Player of the Year in both sports, Junior Seau, was named Grid-Hoop State Player of the Year. Since the immortal Seau was selected, other combo athletes we’ve honored as Grid-Hoop POY include Willie McGinest, Tony Gonzalez, Marcedes Lewis and Matt Barnes. We have archived all of our previous Grid-Hoop all-state teams for easy reference. To access those, you need to be a member of our Gold Club. It’s a great deal and it’s a great time to join our team by CLICKING HERE.
To view the 15-man 2019-20 Grid-Hoop All-State Team, CLICK HERE (GOLD CLUB).
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In social media comments, Bakersfield Christian’s Ben Yurosek often mentions how he’s just trying to follow in the footsteps of the city’s well-known Carr brothers — his own head coach (Darren), his offensive coordinator (David, the former NFL QB) and Derek (Las Vegas Raiders). As an elite athlete who has strived to shine in both football and basketball, however, the footsteps he’s more closely following are those of NFL tight end Zach Ertz.
At Monte Vista High of Danville in the 2008-09 school year, Ertz was an all-state grid-hooper before he headed to Stanford University. Yurosek is doing the same thing, with the only difference that he’s going to Stanford as the actual Cal-Hi Sports Grid-Hoop State Player of the Year.
The annual Grid-Hoop all-state team traditionally leads off end-of-school year individual honors for Cal-Hi Sports and has been done in this format since the 1986-87 school year, with a player of the year named since 1979-80. There has never been a Grid-Hoop State Player of the Year from Bakersfield, although if Cody Kessler from Centennial High had played basketball as a senior (he already was at USC) in the 2010-11 school year he likely would have gotten it. Kessler was Bakersfield’s last first team (five players) selection for his junior year year (2009-10) prior to Yurosek for this year.
Ertz became an elite tight end at Stanford and later an All-Pro in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles. He also caught a game-winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl LII (52). Yurosek is slated to be a tight end for the Cardinal as well, although at Bakersfield Christian he was just as effective rushing the quarterback on defense.
It should be mentioned that like Kessler’s senior season, a senior from this year who may have been the Grid-Hoop State Player of the Year but who wasn’t eligible because he skipped playing basketball as a senior would be John Humphreys from Corona del Mar of Newport Beach. Humphreys set state receiving records last fall in football and will be a teammate of Yurosek’s at Stanford. They could one day be in the same offensive lineup for head coach David Shaw with Humphreys as more of a wideout (despite his size) and Yurosek at tight end.
This isn’t to suggest that Yurosek is not a deserving honoree at the top of this year’s grid-hoopers. He put together a resume that clearly compares with many recent winners.
“I couldn’t ask for a better season, either way, in both sports,” Yurosek told the Bakersfield Californian when he was named as its basketball player of the year. “Winning your last game in both sports for your senior year is one of the goals I had, and to accomplish that, was really more important to me than winning any awards and everything. I wanted to win that last game.”
In football, Yurosek was a three-year standout on both sides of the ball. This last season alone, he had 18 sacks on defense plus 741 yards receiving and 11 TDs for the 12-3 Eagles.
In the 2019 CIF D3-A state championship game against Rancho Cotate of Rohnert Park, big Ben tolled for six catches going for 102 yards and three TDs. He even punted and averaged 35.8 yards per boot.
“I’ve never coached a kid that was so dominant,” said Darren Carr to the Californian in that player of the year writeup. “I’ve been around guys like Asauni Rufus and Marcus Bruce and even guys that we’ve had here, and I watched Derek play … (Ben’s) just a dominating guy. Just to have Ben Yurosek on the D-line … when you watch film like I do, I’ve never seen anything like it, and just how much he pays close attention to detail. Sometimes you get those talented kids that don’t want to listen too much, but this guy did everything I asked him to do. That’s really, really impressive and that’s why he’s a blue-chip kid.”
For his career, Yurosek finished with 236 tackles, 46.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, two interceptions and two blocked punts.
By the time Ben started playing for Bakersfield Christian’s basketball team seven games had been played and the record was 3-4. The Eagles went 22-1 from there, with the only loss by one point to Clovis West of Fresno. Yurosek averaged 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game and was such a leader of the team that the Californian pinned that rare honor on him as its player of the year in that sport, too.
In basketball, Yurosek wasn’t able to get the CIF state title experience since the Eagles’ had their scheduled matchup with Brookside Christian of Stockton for the D4 crown canceled by the Coronavirus pandemic outbreak. They did win the CIF SoCal D4 title with a victory over Palisades of Pacific Palisades and were No. 1 in the final D4 state rankings with a final record of 25-5.
“It was like the difference between a good dream and a nightmare,” said Bakersfield Christian coach Garrett Brown in talking about Ben for the Californian’s player of the year honor. “(Early in the season), people were saying, ‘you’re just missing one guy, why can’t you win without him?’ Well, people don’t really understand everything that he brings to the table for us. When he’s around, everyone is better because he demands that from them.”
Now if Yurosek goes to Stanford, meets a world-class player from the women’s soccer team and marries her, then he’ll really be following in Zach Ertz’s footsteps.
Cal-Hi Sports Grid-Hoop
State Players of the Year
2019-20 – Ben Yurosek, Bakersfield Christian
2018-19 – Jaxen Turner, Moreno Valley Rancho Verde
2017-18 – Jeremiah Martin, San Bernardino Cajon
2016-17 – Niamey Harris, San Francisco Mission
2015-16 – Jamal Hicks, Harbor City Narbonne
2014-15 – Justice Shelton-Mosley,
Sacramento Capital Christian
2013-14 – Alex Van Dyke, Elk Grove Cosumnes Oaks
2012-13 – Max Redfield, Mission Viejo
2011-12 – William Stallworth, Tulare
2010-11 – William Stallworth, Tulare (Jr.)
2009-10 – Victor Dean, San Diego Lincoln
2008-09 – James Boyd, Los Angeles Jordan
2007-08 – Nelson Rosario, Oceanside El Camino
2006-07 – Rob Jones, San Francisco Riordan
2005-06 – David Ausberry, Lemoore
2004-05 – Danny Williams, Los Angeles Fremont
2003-04 – Marcus Everett, West Hills Chaminade
2002-03 – Steve Smith, Woodland Hills Taft
2001-02 – Marcedes Lewis, Long Beach Poly
2000-01 – Antwon Guidry, San Jose Leigh
1999-00 – Teyo Johnson, San Diego Mira Mesa
1998-99 – Josh Shavies, Oakland Fremont
1997-98 – Matt Barnes, Fair Oaks Del Campo
1996-97 – Jason Thomas, Compton Dominguez (Jr.)
1995-96 – Chris Claiborne, Riverside J.W. North
1994-95 – Johnnie Sanders, Los Angeles Franklin
1993-94 – Tony Gonzalez, Huntington Beach
1992-93 – Stais Boseman, Inglewood Morningside
1991-92 – Stais Boseman, Inglewood Morningside (Jr.)
1990-91 – Rob Johnson, El Toro
1989-90 – Willie McGinest, Long Beach Poly
1988-89 – Shante Carver, Stockton Lincoln
1987-88 – Eric Bamberger, Concord Ygnacio Valley
1986-87 – Junior Seau, Oceanside
1985-86 – Dan McGwire, Claremont
1984-85 – Michael Johnson, Baldwin Park
1983-84 – Jerald Jones, Vallejo
1982-83 – John Paye, Atherton Menlo School
1981-82 – Reggie Rogers, Sacramento Norte Del Rio
1980-81 – Jack Del Rio, Hayward
1979-80 – Don Rogers, Sacramento Norte Del Rio
Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: