With two more games to go in his collegiate career, I’d like to formally apologize to University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker.
A year ago at this time, I was hoping and praying that Jake would stay for his senior year. With him at the helm, the Dawgs would be able to seriously turn around their football program and perhaps return to the glory years. Maybe even go to a bowl game! There was talk of Jake being a possible Heisman trophy candidate. I have the t-shirt to prove it.
Jake decided to be loyal to the Husky football program, which is extremely admirable. He had the chance to go for the money, to enter the NFL draft and all indications are that he would have gone at least in the top five picks. For the non football types, the basic formula is “Higher the pick = The More Money.”
But Jake opted to stick around with a team that showed it’s got a few years to go. It’s rebuilding, but that means inexperience in lots of positions. Spots that, when not executed properly, resulted in Jake taking a shot from an almost 400-pound lineman who wants nothing more than to break him.
Jake is tough, but even the most talented athletes can only take so much. And so, as I watched him last night in his final home game in a Husky uniform, I could only imagine what might have been going through his mind. Here he was, nursing some cracked ribs, overthrowing receivers probably because of the pain, not running the ball like we all know he can with lightning speed. At times, the UCLA/UW matchup looked like a high school game. Weak punts, missed field goal attempts, etc. But being able to walk away with a 24-7 win over former Husky shuckster Rick Neuweasel and the UCLA Bruins is nothing to take lightly. I have a hard time remembering many years where we beat BOTH USC and UCLA in the same season.
It’s been a rough one for Jake, but I truly believe that he’ll wander off to the pro’s, get the protection he deserves and shine. He’ll always be looked back on by the Husky faithful as one of the greatest quarterbacks to grace our campus, but I suppose there’s always going to be a part of me—and lots of other fans–who feel that it might have been better for the guy to just let him go.
Sorry about that, Jake. But thanks for everything you brought to the Dawgs.