Clovis North’s Christian Rossi makes his call: It’s Cal State Fullerton for baseball

Clovis North multisport star Christian Rossi makes his call: It’s Cal State Fullerton for baseball.

Clovis North High’s Christian Rossi, with college options — and in multiple sports — has made his choice: It’s Cal State Fullerton for baseball.

“It took him a long time to make his decision,” says Rick Rossi, the senior’s father. “A lot of people are calling. He just wanted to get it done so he can enjoy the rest of the year.”

Rick Rossi says his son — The Bee’s Player of the Year in football as a quarterback last fall as a senior and a Bee All-Star as a shortstop last spring as a junior — made a recent baseball recruiting visit to Fullerton, which has been pursuing him “for a long time.”

The Titans of the Big West Conference are currently 20-3, ranked No. 8 in the country, have made 21 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and have won four national titles.

Rick Rossi says his son intends on signing a letter of intent with Fullerton April 10.

Titans coach Rick Vanderhook has already signed Bullard catcher Niko Pacheco, The Bee’s Player of the Year in baseball as a junior last spring.

Rick Rossi says “it wasn’t an easy decision” for his son, whom he says had college choices in football and baseball.

And, yet another option figures to be on the table for Christian Rossi, a 6-foot-2, 195-pounder, who is expected to be selected in the June Major League baseball amateur draft.

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Prep notes variety pack (football all-stars, section finals at Bulldog Stadium?, & hoops)

Clovis North coach Cory Hall reacts on the sideline during a game against Memorial at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis Thursday, September 29, 2011. (CRAIG KOHLRUSS/THE FRESNO BEE)

A few thoughts as January turns to February on a spectacular 65-degree Friday:

** Bee football All-Stars that were published Friday:

– Yes, Clovis North’s Cory Hall was supposed to be listed among the Coach of the Year finalists (he’s been added to the online story). He was actually a close runner-up to Mendota’s Beto Mejia. Quite impressive that both have won Central Section division titles in their first two seasons as prep head coaches.

– I also gave Clovis North’s Isaiah Duran long, serious consideration for Player of the Year before going with teammate and quarterback Christian Rossi. Duran flat got it done as a lineman on both sides of the ball.

** Housing all six section football finals over two days at Bulldog Stadium is gaining traction. The concept is the same in what has been an enormous success in basketball for eight years at Selland Arena. What’s making the football gig possible is Fresno State offering a huge discount rate. This will come down to Kern County schools accepting the idea, giving up potential home-field advantages — ala, Bakersfield at legendary Griffith Field.  Keep in mind: The section’s CIF office has returned thousands of dollars to its schools as a result of the basketball financial windfall at Selland. Read more →

Clovis North QB Rossi lands Cal-Hi Sports All-State overall 1st team

Clovis North quarterback Christian Rossi, left, passes downfield in the third quarter in a game against Central High Thursday night at Buchanan’s Veteran’s Memorial Stadium October 18, 2012 in Clovis. (ERIC PAUL ZAMORA/THE FRESNO BEE)

Clovis North senior quarterback Christian Rossi has made Cal-Hi Sports All-State overall first team — the only Central Section representative making the elite group.

The 34th annual, 30-player team is Cal-Hi’s highest level of recognition for football.

Rossi, after leading the Broncos to the section Division II title as a junior, guided them to a 12-2 record, a D-I championship and into the Southern California Regionals last season.

Making Cal-Hi’s 30-member second team as a multi-purpose player was Clovis senior running back/linebacker Adrian Salas.

And making the 60-player third team as defensive backs were seniors Jason Black of Clovis and Johnny Johnson of Central. Liberty-Bakersfield offensive lineman Cole Mazza also made it.

Cal-Hi Sports, which has already released its Small Schools and All-Sophomores All-State teams, also named its Medium Schools team Tuesday.

The Central Section was represented by five players: Mission Oak tight end Kevin Palma, Dinuba quarterback Marcus McMaryion, Kingsburg defensive lineman Ryan Steele, Garces offensive lineman Keoni Taylor and Ridgeview quarterback Kamari Cotton-Moya.

Christian Rossi story: not an easy one to tackle

Generally, profiling the local football star is a simple, enjoyable, positive process for all — from reporter, to athlete, to parents, to school and community.

But there are exceptions.

Let’s examine today’s story in The Bee about Clovis North quarterback Christian Rossi.

I’ve long known about prominent Central Section athletes whose parents had them repeat grades before high school — a practice effectively used as youth sports “redshirting” with the motive of growing stronger, playing better and, ultimately, landing a college scholarship.

I’ve published two indepth investigations on this in the past, one about 5 years ago and the other about 20 years previous.

Rarely have parents said their decisions were athletically motivated, typically pointing instead to the immaturity or young ages (or both) of their children.

This was also the explanation used by Rick Rossi, Christian’s father.

I’ve been told in the past couple years that there were several Clovis North athletes who had been held back. I did not know until this week that Rossi was one of them.

And that, consequently, led to interviews that, while going well, were a bit strained.

It’s a sensitive issue. But when a family chooses this route — particularly involving a high-profile, achieving athlete at a high-performing, achieving school — they’ve got to know there will be consequences. And that includes publicity.

Christian Rossi has proven — especially as a 17-year-old baseball player competing mostly against opposition his age or older last spring — that he really didn’t need the bonus year to succeed in athletics.

That said, there is no doubt his increased maturity level, awareness and calmness — especially on the football field this fall — has benefited.

Tonight will present perhaps his greatest challenge to date — the section’s Division I championship in wet conditions at Veterans Memorial Stadium against Central, which will be breathing fire after losing 50-7 to Clovis North six weeks ago.