Jan. 7, 2010
Over the last few weeks of 2009, and the first week of 2010, GoHuskies.com has taken a look at the top moments of '09. Today's edition, which takes a look at the decision of UW quarterback Jake Locker to return for his senior year, is the final entry in the series.
We hope you've enjoyed this look at some great memories from the past year and we look forward to making many more in 2010. Happy New Year from GoHuskies.com!
Unlikely as it may seem, Husky quarterback Jake Locker moved through the 2009 football season without having to field too many questions about his future with regard to the 2010 NFL Draft.
Each week, it seemed, one draft analyst or another would offer his opinion on Locker's projected stock in the eyes of NFL general managers. Those opinions varied, but not that widely, as most agreed he'd be a sure-fire first-rounder, with some opining that Locker had a chance to be the No. 1 overall pick.
Sure, fans brought it up and, at the season-ending, 42-10 win over California, the crowd made its thoughts on the matter clear with loud, repeated chants of "One More Year" and the like.
Fans also debated what Locker might do. Some were absolutely certain he'd leave, seeing too much risk in returning. Others sought out reasons he might stay. Both sides went back and forth for weeks and months.
But in press conferences, the media seemed content to leave the subject alone for the most part, at least until the season ended.
However, in the aftermath of that victory over Cal, the intensity picked up immediately.
Essentially, Locker had the better part of a month and half to make his decision, if he wanted to take that much time. The mid-January deadline for underclassmen to enter the Draft seemed a long time away for Husky fans.
But, in customary Jake Locker fashion, the Husky QB made his decision quickly, and announced it with minimal fanfare.
As the story goes, on Dec. 14, Locker and his chocolate labrador retriever puppy "Ten" walked into Coach Steve Sarkisian's office in the Graves Annex, where quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier were chatting and stated simply, "I'm staying."
A statement was released to the press, but Locker, in the midst of final exams and with the holiday break on tap, would wait until the new year to speak to the media.
It was an early Christmas present for Husky fans everywhere. In the Northwest, on sports talk radio, on internet message boards and on facebook and twitter, the word spread like wildfire. "Jake's coming back" was the news.
As Coach Sarkisian, at the time making the shift from in-season coaching to full-bore recruiting, put it, "This is the first time in history I've ever signed a 10-star recruit. Forget four- or five-star recruits. We got a 10-star recruit today."