Tonani Out For Season; EWU Adds Rodgers, Babcock - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Tonani Out For Season; EWU Adds Rodgers, Babcock

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Courtesy Eastern Washington athletics

The highs and lows of a football season started this summer for Eastern Washington University, and involved a trio of Spokane area players.

The Eagles officially added Washington State transfer and Shadle Park High School graduate Jake Rodgers to their roster recently, just as Freshman All-America safety and Ferris HS graduate Jordan Tonani (pictured) began surgical treatment for a hip ailment that will cost him the 2013 season. The Eagles begin practices for the 2013 season on Wednesday (Aug. 7) in preparation for the team's opener Aug. 31 at Oregon State.

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, 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 painful hip 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 29th, and also included a labral tear that was repaired. He 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 (10/13/12). 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 (10/6/12) scoreless in the second half of a 55-17 win. Tonani graduated from Ferris in 2011; Minnerly graduated from the same school in 2008.

#65 Jake Rodgers
OL, 6-6, 320, Jr., Spokane, Wash.

2013: Listed as backup at left offensive tackle on the preseason depth chart. He should compete for a starting position and will be able to play multiple positions along the offensive line. Will attend EWU for the first time in fall 2013 after transferring from Washington State. Washington State: Earned a varsity letter after starting all 12 games on the offensive line for the Cougars. He started at right guard in the team's season-opener at BYU, then started at left guard in WSU's 24-20 win over Eastern Washington. He started a total of three games at right guard (BYU, UNLV, Colorado), one at left guard (EWU), five at right tackle (Oregon, Oregon State, California, Stanford, Utah) and the final three games of the season at left tackle (UCLA, Arizona State, Washington). He redshirted in 2010 and earned Scout Team Offensive Player of the Week accolades against Arizona State. HS: Graduated from Shadle Park HS in 2010. As senior, he served as team captain and was named to the EvergreenStatePreps.com All-State team (3A-and-under). Rodgers was named by the Seattle Times as a "Red Chip" selection as one of the top 22 prospects in the state of Washington. He was also a three-star prospect according to Scout.com and was rated No. 20 overall in the state of Washington and No. 37 at his position nationally. He earned first team All-Greater Spokane League honors in 2008 – one of just three juniors on the 17-man offensive team. He was a three-year letterwinner in football, and played as a tight end and defensive end, and also was a kicker and punter for head coach Mark Hester. He also lettered three times in basketball and participated in baseball. As a sophomore, he helped lead the Highlanders to the State 3A Basketball Tournament. His Eagle teammates Bo Schuetzle ('09) and Cameron Babcock ('13) also graduated from Shadle Park.

Cameron Babcock
LB, 6-1, 210, Fr., Spokane, Wash.

HS: Graduated from Shadle Park HS in 2013. Was a first team All-Greater Spokane League selection on defense. Rushed for 385 yards (5.5 per carry) with four touchdowns as a senior. He also caught 20 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns from record-breaking sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien. Babcock also wrestled, and placed seventh in the 195-pound weight class at the WIAA State 3A Championships as a senior. His Eagle teammates Jake Rodgers ('10) and Bo Schuetzle ('09) also graduated from Shadle Park.

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