My second favorite team to win was the University of Washington Huskies that outclassed and outran a poor Syracuse University squad 42-12 in an away game that was led by 19-year-old redshirt freshman quarterback Jake Locker.
Jake Locker (remember his name as you will be hearing it again and again in the future) led his Ferndale (WA) High School team to the Washington State 3-A title as a senior. He was a first-team, national high school All-American and the state 3A Player of the Year. As a high school senior Locker passed for 1,603 yards, ran for 1,338 yards, threw 27 touchdowns with only 3 interceptions, and ran for another 24 touchdowns.
Locker is the most hyped player ever at the University of Washington, and he is arguably the most humble and most talented quarterback ever. Hugh Millen, the former Husky quarterback who led Washington to an 11-1 season in 1984 and a 24-17 victory over then No. 2-ranked Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, has said that Locker is “the most talented Husky quarterback ever” at Washington. Millen, one of the smartest and most articulate radio and television sports commentators in the Seattle market, should know. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams and spent 8 years in the NFL for 6 teams as a backup quarterback.
The very best thing that can be said about Jack Locker in his debut against the Syracuse Orange is that he has lived up to his hype and then some. Although his first pass was incomplete Avalyne and first run was for no gain, Locker showed why Husky fans just might think that the University of Washington actually has a football team again. After missing 3 of his first 4 passes, Locker connected on 13 of his next 14, ending the game 14 for 19 with 142 yards, and 10 carries for 83 yards and two touchdowns.
Washington flat got after it, cutting the Syracuse defense into Orange slices with 302 yards of rushing, and a career high 147 yards by senior running back Louis Rankin who scored on runs of 47, 20 and 13 yards. Husky linemen and receivers actually threw blocks that opened holes you could run three players through. It was so sweet to see the Washington players block, tackle, run and pass with efficiency and productivity.
Head Coach Ty Willingham and Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano have suffered through two miserable years of Husky football to get where they arrived on Friday. The wait was worth it from my perspective as I see the fortunes of Washington football rising dramatically with Locker as the unquestioned leader.
Locker is a big kid at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and still very much growing as a 19-year-old who did not commit a single turnover in his debut. He is beyond dangerous as he is the second fastest (you heard it right, second fastest) player on the team. When you are outrunning defensive cornerbacks, you have very unusual speed for a quarterback. Locker does.
If the University of Washington was a Catholic university there would be prayer vigils daily for the health of Jake Locker for the next four years. If Locker stays healthy and continues to be surrounded by talented incoming recruits, the Huskies are headed for the big time once again.
(Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of a 3-Part Article.)
Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley
Ed Bagley’s Blog Publishes Original Articles with Analysis and Commentary on 5 Subjects: Sports, Movie Reviews, Lessons in Life, Jobs and Careers, and Internet Marketing. My intention is to inform, educate, delight and motivate you the reader.