Locker Discusses Reasons For Returning To UW
Jan. 8, 2010
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SEATTLE - There was an opportunity to complete the journey.
This was the pull that kept University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker on Montlake for an additional year, a desire to finish what he had started as a promising recruit out of Ferndale, Wash. The carrot: another year in the Steve Sarkisian system, a chance to compete for a bowl game and polish his skills, which would hopefully lead to long-term success down the road.
Locker and Coach Steve Sarkisian addressed the media Friday for the first time since the university announced the quarterback would return for his senior season. When the news was first announced in December, it set off a ripple of excitement, culminating with around 1,000 new season tickets purchased for the 2010 season.
"I wanted to make a decision I wasn't going to regret 30 years from now," Locker said. "I wanted to make a decision I was going to be able to live with. I knew I hadn't done what I set out to do when I came here. And I felt that the opportunity I had with the team coming back was a pretty good one."
Before coming to his decision, Locker surrounded himself with family and the offensive coaching staff at Washington and listened to all the advice. But, as he said on Friday, his action was not based on the millions he could have earned himself at the professional level.
"The only reason for really going was because there was a lot of money involved," Locker said. "But I didn't care about that. This is not what it's about."
In Locker's mind, he sees a team that might be on the cusp of achieving something special. He was also aware of the statistic proffered by a media analyst that compares junior-level QBs to those at the senior level.
Last year, Locker passed for 2,800 yards and rushed for 388 in a system designed to promote his abilities as a next-level quarterback. As the offensive players mature under Sarkisian, the hope is that Locker will be an even more efficient quarterback as he acclimatizes himself to the complex reads and progressions.
That being said, Sarkisian wanted his quarterback to process all the available information out there. He didn't want to "recruit" him back to UW. Even after the hype of the Cal game on Dec. 5, when Locker had an exemplary performance against the Golden Bears and Husky Stadium bellowed "One More Year!," Sarkisian advised the QB to take a few weeks off, distance himself from the situation and re-evaluate.
"I wanted to make sure I supplied him with enough information and the best information so he could make a safe and sound decision," Sarkisian said, "based on the facts, not based on emotion."
Locker returned to the football office and told Sarkisian, along with offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier that he still wanted to be a Dawg.
In terms of Locker's development, Sarkisian believed he was "not very far" from being at the level he needs to succeed. Nevertheless, Sarkisian cautioned that the Huskies are not just about one player if they want to enjoy the success they've set out to achieve.
"This isn't the Jake Locker Huskies. This is the Washington Huskies," Sarkisian said. "He happens to be a part of our football program. He happens to be our quarterback in a system that is quarterback friendly that will allow him to make a lot of plays."