Locker says he's a Dawg for sure

After having their hearts broken twice by Grady Sizemore and Matt Tuiasosopo, Dawg fans were holding their collective breaths after the jewel of their 2006 recruiting class, Ferndale (Wa.) QB Jake Locker's name was being thrown around by many baseball scouting services as a top prospect.

That sound you heard earlier today was big sigh of relief from Husky Nation as Locker has decided to forgo a potential baseball career to live out his dreams on the gridiron at Husky Stadium.

"When I signed my letter of intent I committed to play my football at the University of Washington," Locker told earlier this evening. "I was basically saying that if football is what I decided to do, I'm not going to play for anybody but U-Dub.

"I believed that, even when I was considering baseball and when I signed the letter, it wasn't like I had signed saying I wasn't going to do anything else and there was no other things I would do with my future. So I didn't feel like that even if I was going to play baseball I wasn't going back on my word or being disloyal to anybody. Obviously some people would be upset about it, but I didn't feel like I was going behind anybody's back by any means. That didn't play a part of it.

"Baseball had always been the sport I enjoyed playing and it was something where I didn't think I was the best baseball player and didn't put a lot of time into and I didn't think I would have the opportunities in front of my at this age. So it was intriguing and it interested me at first and with the things that they were telling me I didn't think it would be a possibility so it was something I never really considered until this point. But it just wasn't where my heart was and football is what I want to be doing."

The Locker's are a tight-knit family who seem to be methodical in every thing they do. Jake was challenged repeatedly by his coach and father and he said that was ultimately what helped him make his final decision.

"My coach kept challenging me to see if I could see myself as a major league baseball player," Locker said. "He said ‘If you can see yourself doing that then that's something you should consider and if you can't then that's something you don't even have to think about what your decision is going to be'. So that's what I tried to do, to envision myself playing major league baseball and running out onto a major league field as something that could possibly be my future.

"(Playing baseball) would be awesome and be fun, but it's just not what I see myself doing. If I see myself running out on any fields it's in my football pads and out of that tunnel next year. That's what I saw myself doing and that's what I want to be doing and that's what it came down to."

"So I called up one team and told them not to draft me because I don't want to be a waste of time for them. That's not what I want to do. I said 'Thanks for all that you've done for me, but don't waste your time or a draft choice or your money on me because I'm playing football.'"

Because of Washington's history with players who committed and then spurned them to play baseball, Locker realized it was a concern on a lot of people's minds, but he didn't really see it as a big deal.

"It was kinda weird because it became a bigger deal and I never meant for it to become something like that," Locker said. "It was just something I was trying to consider and it just grew into this huge thing. It was never a huge thing for me and it didn't really change how I did things and lived my life, but I see how people could take it as such a big thing, but it really wasn't that big for me."

And he also learned a little about the rivalry between the two state universities.

"It was really funny going through the whole process, because it seemed like every time somebody wanted to do a baseball story they were a Cougar and every time somebody wanted to do a football story they were a Husky fan so that was kind of funny and interesting," Locker said with a laugh.

Locker also said he doesn't plan to call the Husky coaching staff to tell them the good news.

"I don't feel like it's something that needs to be said, because I don't think they were too worried about it," Locker said. "I don't think it was something they were really stressing over. I didn't think it was necessary to call them and tell them what they already know."

Now Locker will be able to focus on the state baseball championships that his team is involved in. They face the winner of the Bellevue/O'Dea game on Saturday morning in Centrailia and with a win will play one more game in the same stadium.

If Ferndale wins both of those games, they play in the Final Four at Safeco Field on Memorial Day weekend.

For now he's a baseball player, hoping to lead his team to a state championship. However, after Memorial Day, he'll put down his bat and glove and focus on donning the purple and gold.

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