Position Breakdown: Quarterback

For the fifth straight year, the Huskies aren't playing in a bowl game, so we've decided to take a look at the future of Washington football position-by-position. We begin our series with a look at the most important position on the offensive side of the ball -- the quarterbacks -- and how the position shapes up over the next four or five years.

Returning: Jake Locker (Rs. So.); Ronnie Fouch (Rs. Fr.); Taylor Bean (Rs. Fr.)*
2008 Recruiting Class: Dominique Blackman; Luther Leonard
Possible 2008 Greyshirt: Kevin Prince
* denotes walk-on

When you talk about the promise that the 2007 Washington Huskies exhibited on the field this past fall, Locker is the main cog in the "Excitement Machine" that was a, at times, potent offensive attack.

As a redshirt freshman, Locker threw for over 2,062 yards and 14 touchdowns while also running for 986 yards and a team-high 13 touchdowns. While he was a playmaker and put up some solid numbers, he also had 15 interceptions and only completed 47% of his passes while managing a 105 quarterback efficiency rating (by comparison Oregon's Dennis Dixon led the conference with a 161 rating).

Locker is one of the top athletes in the country. His positives far outweigh his negatives, but he has a lot to work on over the spring and summer before fans will get a real read on how his career on Montlake will progress.

He got much better at the intermediate routes (7 to 15 yards) as the season progressed, but his short passes were tough for receivers to handle at times and his long passes were off most of the year as well. He also needs to improve at reading defenses and the hope is that with two full seasons in Lappano's offense, he can audible out of bad plays as a sophomore.

Either way, the fate of the 2008 Huskies lies on the broad shoulders of Locker and, as anyone who knows the young man from Ferndale can attest, he'll do everything in his power to improve as a passer over the next eight months.

Fouch was impressive during the brief moments he made an appearance during both spring and fall camp and shows a nice touch while making quick reads and decisions. He needs to add weight and get stronger in order to take the beating that a Pac 10 quarterback takes over the course of a season, but he's got the talent to be an excellent signal-caller down the road and he'll push Locker which could end up being his most important role on the team.

Blackman and Leonard are the two freshman who will step on campus next fall and both bring different qualities to the position.

Blackman played in one of the most competitive leagues in California and he's a big (6-5, 250) gun-slinger with a huge arm and good athleticism for a player his dimensions.

Leonard is a player who has the ability to play different positions should the coaching staff determine he isn't going to be a fit at quarterback. He's got a big arm, he's a good athlete (although he didn't run much as a senior) and he's become a student of the game.

The Huskies will also get another player, possibly in January, in Kevin Prince who has a choice to make between taking a two-year LDS mission or greyshirting and then enrolling for winter quarter (January of 2009) after he fully recovers from a knee injury.

Prince is the more polished of the three committed quarterback prospects in this class and he's probably a better fit for Washington's offense if he fully-recovers from the knee injury he suffered in the first quarter of the first game of his senior season.

The prognosis of the healing process has been excellent, so there is no reason to believe Prince won't be back to 100% when he arrives on campus.

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