Rodgers, fellow Shadle grad Cameron Babcock join Eagles; hip ailment will sideline Jordan Tonani for season
Two steps forward and one back.
Just as Eastern Washington University was announcing the signing of one transfer and a freshman recruit, they were losing a key contributor to their deep playoff run in 2012.
The Eagles officially added Washington State transfer and Shadle Park High School graduate Jake Rodgers to their roster, just as freshman All-America safety and Ferris High graduate Jordan Tonani began surgical treatment for a hip ailment that will cost him the 2013 season.
Rodgers, a 12-game starter on the offensive line for the Cougars last season, officially enrolled in EWU classes in July and worked out with his new teammates this summer. The 6 foot, 6 inch, 320-pound Rodgers is expected to compete for a starting position at offensive tackle, where the Eagles lost All-American Will Post to graduation.
In addition, 2013 Shadle Park graduate Cameron Babcock was also added to the Eagle roster as a linebacker this summer. Rodgers is a 2012 graduate of Shadle Park, and EWU senior cornerback Bo Schuetzle was also a Highlander, graduating in 2009.
Tonani’s injury is called hip joint acetabular impingement, and the ailment requires surgery to both hips with six months of rehabilitation required for each. He would have competed for a starting position at safety, but should return fully healthy in spring 2014.
His first surgery on his left hip took place on July 29, and also included a labral tear that was repaired. Tonani will undergo the second surgery on his right hip in about a month.
Tonani had a sensational redshirt freshman season for the Eagles in 2012 as an injury replacement for senior safety Jeff Minnerly, with Tonani earning a spot on the College Sports Journal Freshman All-America squad and honorable mention All-Big Sky honors.
He started seven games and finished the year sixth on the team with 68 tackles, and also had a team-leading three interceptions with five passes broken up and a fumble recovery.
In one of many impressive performances during his debut season, Tonani’s 21-yard interception return for a touchdown with 11:15 to play became the winning points in a 27-24 victory over second-ranked Montana State. He also had eight tackles, and as a result, was selected as the College Sports Madness National FCS Defensive Player of the Week, as well as their same honor for the Big Sky Conference.
One game earlier in his first collegiate start, Tonani had a team-leading 11 tackles as the Eagles held North Dakota scoreless in the second half of a 55-17 win.