Benjamin Yurosek is the latest in a line of talented and bruising Cardinal tight ends
SAN FRANCISCO – One group stands out among the nearly 100 Stanford football players whose portraits appear on the 2023 team roster.
When taking individual portraits, the tight ends all wore thick black-framed glasses, a nod to the legacy of their predecessors, who prided themselves on “intellectual brutality” and used smarts and physicality to dominate the line of scrimmage.
In recent years, the Cardinal struggled to run the ball or stop the run, and new coach Troy Taylor appeared to abandon that mentality entirely by implementing a hurry-up spread offense.
Senior Benjamin Yurosek, however, stated that the tight end group is still attempting to return to its roots by playing hard-nosed, old-school football.
“We grew up watching Stanford and watching that style of play,” Yurosek explained. “I believe the Stanford man has the same mentality all the time.” None of that has changed, in my opinion. Obviously, our offense is a complete 180 from last year, but in terms of personality and mentality, we’re still aggressive SOBs who want to go after people like we used to.”
Yurosek, who grew up in Bakersfield, hopes to continue Stanford’s recent string of great tight ends. Between 2012 and 2020, the Cardinals drafted seven tight ends, including Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz, and Dalton Schultz.
“You can look at the resume and the legacy.” “There isn’t a better school since 2010,” Yurosek said. “I get irritated every time I see ‘Tight End U’ (about a school other than Stanford).”
And, while Taylor’s offense may use the tight end position differently than former coach David Shaw’s pro-style offense, there are still plenty of opportunities for production. When Taylor was the head coach at Sacramento State last season, tight end Marshel Martin led the team in receptions (65), receiving yards (879), and touchdowns (12).
Last season, Yurosek was named all-Pac-12 second-team tight end by the Associated Press after catching 49 passes for 445 yards and one touchdown.
Whether Yurosek can match Martin’s totals is contingent on a number of factors, including how quickly an offensive line with four new starters gels, whether the running backs stay healthy and force defenses to respect the running game, and, perhaps most importantly, whether the Cardinal can get consistent QB play from a group that has thrown 31 career passes in college.
But for the time being, Yurosek is focused on what he can control, such as adjusting to a new offensive system.
“We have a lot of new stuff coming in,” Yurosek explained. “So learning that in Year 1 and not just learning it but becoming an expert and knowing it like the back of your hand so when you’re out there, you’re not thinking, you’re just playing.”
Yurosek believes that if the players learn Taylor’s system quickly enough, the production will follow.
“Everywhere he goes, this guy wins,” Yurosek said. “So we’re excited to see him score some points like he always does.”