TOLEDO — With the possibility of playing a senior season of high school football sitting in limbo, Toledo High School quarterback Jaxon Rozewski already has an eye on his future, both in the classroom and on the gridiron.
Rozewski, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound senior, signed a national letter of intent Feb. 3 to continue his academic and football careers at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.
“I really want to give a big thank you to Western Oregon,” Rozewski told the News-Times earlier this week. “They’ve been sticking with me and staying in contact with me since day 1. Toledo is always going to be home for me, but I’ve found another home in Monmouth, Oregon.”
According to the Western Oregon’s athletics website, Rozewski is part of a 31-player recruiting class announced by the school following last week’s football national signing day. Its class of 2021 recruits includes 26 native Oregonians, two players from Washington and one each from Hawaii, California and Alaska. He’s one of four quarterbacks in the signing class.
“We are very excited with the level of depth and talent we added with this class,” Arne Ferguson, WOU head football coach, said in a news release announcing the Wolves’ recent signees. “We not only added length and athleticism, but we picked up very skilled players all across the board at every position. Being able to once again bring in a majority of in-state players is a credit to all of the work that our coaches have done over the past year.”
Rozewski, a three-sport prep star for the Boomers, received offers to play football from 18 schools. They came from a handful of schools in the Midwest, including Keyon College in Gambier, Ohio, Judson University in Elgin, Ill., and Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo. Closer to home, Rozewski collected offers to play college football from Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., Pacific University in Forest Grove and Linfield University in McMinnville.
Rozewski is a nine-time letter winner in football, basketball and baseball at Toledo. Through three football seasons, he amassed 5,720 passing yards and 67 passing touchdowns. He’s a three-time all-state honoree on the basketball court and was twice named an all-league pitcher on the baseball diamond. The cherry on top is that Rozewski holds a 3.27 grade point average in the classroom.
But he says it was no small feat getting on the radar of college football recruiters.
“Coming from a small town and a small school like Toledo, it was really hard to get noticed,” Rozewski said. “I started going out and making it to showcases and camps all over and sending emails to coaches … I can’t tell you how many emails I sent to different coaches all across the country just to get my name out there.”
Getting his name out there surely got a bit easier after Rozewski paced a Toledo offensive eruption during an October 2018 shootout victory over Glide as a sophomore. In that 59-56 victory, Rozewski set an 11-player football state record by throwing for 613 passing yards and tied another state mark by passing for eight touchdowns.
As a junior in 2019, Rozewski led the Boomers to an 8-3 mark before they bowed out in the state quarterfinals. Last May, Rozewski helped Toledo to the school’s first boys state basketball championship, culminating in a 58-48 defeat of Western Christian in the title tilt in Pendleton.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic forced at least a pause, and possibly a cancellation of Rozewski’s senior football campaign starting this past fall, it left a void Rozewski has been trying to fill ever since.
“It’s been difficult, no doubt,” he said. “Just not being able to be with my guys all day, getting those reps and keeping that camaraderie … it’s been tough.”
Rozewski says he’d be nowhere near the athlete he’s become if not for the strong support of his parents, Kryspin and Karen. And though he intends to leave the county for his next step, Toledo will always be No. 1 in his heart.
“The first, most important thing is that Toledo is home,” he said. “My friends and family are here, and I’m forever grateful to everyone here for always being there for me. I’m going to work to make something of a name for this little town.”