Beavs offer Locker, travel plans set for Corvallis

THE BEAVERS HAVE offered Jake Locker, a senior-to-be from Ferndale, Wash., and one of the top prospects in the state. But is his future in football or baseball? His prep coach says he's a bona fide Division I-A quarterback or defensive back, though the Beavs are recruiting him to run the show on offense. Locker has also set the day for when he'll travel down to the Beaver state, which could go a long way in determining his ultimate destination.

Oregon State is one of five offers now held by Locker -- Washington State, Washington, Arizona State and Cal being the other four. Some schools coming on strong of late include Georgia Tech, Stanford, Purdue, Nebraska and Oregon. Colorado, Miami and Notre Dame have also shown interest.

Later this week, Locker will visit three northwest schools over a span of two days, heading down to Oregon before making the return trip back to Ferndale by way of WSU, the first school to offer the standout athlete.

"On Friday I'm going to go to Oregon and Oregon State," said Locker. "Then on Saturday, I'll be at Washington State for their junior day."

The last time he talked to in March, Locker mentioned Washington as having a slight lead and that's still the case -- but he said that could change after this weekend's trips.

"That's just mostly because I had only seen them -- went and visited (UW)," said Locker. "I'll probably have a better view of that after this weekend."

Locker, has not made a decision on if he'll pursue baseball or football but all things being equal, football might have a slight edge. He'd like to make that decision before the start of his senior football season.

If he does choose the gridiron, Ferndale coach Jamie Plenkovich said the school will be getting both an exceptional person and football player.

Wherever he goes, academics and the coaching staff will be of paramount importance. Distance could also factor into his decision, with a large extended family in the area that would love to see him in the northern half of the Pac-10 but it's important to note Locker hasn't ruled anything out at this stage of the game.

He said he'd like his position coach and coaching staff to push him to be his best but also be people he can form close ties with on and off the field.

A FOOTBALL TRIPLE-THREAT at Ferndale High, Locker has game breaking ability as a return man. In the '04 state semis, he ran 24 yards for one touchdown, threw a 67-yard scoring strike and also returned a punt 66 yards in Ferndale's 45-6 win.

His play in 2004 earned him first-team AP All-State recognition on both offense and defense. Plenkovich said there is no doubt the two-time All-NW League safety with 4.45 speed can play either position in college. And Locker enjoys putting his hat on people. "He will hit you," said Plenkovich.

Locker said he does not have a position preference but virtually every school, including Oregon State, is recruiting him at quarterback.

A THREE SPORT standout who also stars on the hardcourt, Locker trains for football virtually year-round, running sprints and other football drills in the morning before school.

"That's something really special about him -- his teammates love him because he'll work his tail off and he also has all that ability. Success hasn't lessened his work ethic at all," says his coach.

He was the first freshman to start on the varsity for former Ferndale coach and current Athletic Director Vic Randall in his 21-year coaching career, lining up at cornerback in '02.

Ferndale, known for it's dedication to the run, doesn't toss the pigskin around a whole lot but Locker excels when throwing on the run -- that's his strong suit. And there's no question about his arm strength. He has a cannon.

A very strong Christian, Locker also excels in the classroom, carrying a 3.8 GPA. He is considering a major in Architecture or possibly Communication.

IN 2004, he passed for 1,314 yards and 16 TDs while rushing for 987 yards and 15 TDs. In a thriller not decided until the final minute, Locker stole the show as he nearly led Ferndale to a monumental upset of Bellevue in last season's 3A state championship game. Locker had a hand in all Ferndale's scoring, running for over 150 yards with 3 TDs and passing for another in the 31-28 loss to the Wolverines on the way to Bellevue's fourth consecutive title.

"Locker is phenomenal," said Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff. "Rarely do you find a kid who can run like Jake and throw a football 70 yards accurately."

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