Locker to stay with football

SEATTLE - The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim don't take no for an answer. They drafted then Ferndale quarterback Jake Locker, and on Wednesday they drafted Washington quarterback Jake Locker. In the 10th round, to be exact. And the answer from Jake on both occasions has been the same: I'm sticking with football.

"I'm staying put to play football at Washington," he said via teleconference Wednesday afternoon. "They (Angels) talked to me before the draft and I was upfront about it. Football is my priority."

But Locker isn't walking away from the Angels altogether. He has until August 17th to sign a deal that could possibly free up his scholarship much in the same way Tripper Johnson was able to walk-on and play at Washington while getting paid to go to college by the baseball team that drafted him out of high school - the Baltimore Orioles. And if he did sign, the Angels would hold his baseball rights for the next six years.

"If we can come to an agreement, it's something I'm looking into," Locker said. "But they understand that it would be at least two years until I plan on playing baseball." He added that he would only sign a contract that would also let him explore any and all opportunities in the NFL first after finishing his eligibility at Washington.

"If things don't work out the way I hope they would, I still have an opportunity to play a game for a living," he added.

The Angels drafted Locker as a centerfielder, and he said that the Minnesota Twins, Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers were three teams out of many that were interested in drafting him. Because most of the talks with Locker would have taken place during Washington's spring football campaign, he let his father Scott do most of the talking for him.

If Locker were to sign a baseball contract, he'd also have to do it without the help of an agent. If he were to use an agent, he would have to give up his amateur status, and thereby any college eligibility he may have left.

Locker played baseball last summer with the Bellingham Bells, but told them after the season that he wasn't interested in renewing a deal to bring him back to Bellingham for the 2009 season, mostly because of the time requirements and the stress of having to deal with playing baseball while also trying to get in as many football workouts as possible before the 2008 season began.

"I told them I wouldn't be able to do both again, because it was just too much,". he said.

But as it stands on this day, Jake Locker is happy to be wearing the purple and gold, and is still loving his college experience - even with the speed bumps that have come along the way.

"I want to finish out what I started. I've never been one to really run away from anything, and I don't plan on starting now. I've really loved my experience. It hasn't been athletically what I hoped it would be, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I wouldn't make a different decision. If I could go back, I'd do the same exact thing. It's been a great experience for me, and I'm looking forward to the next two years of it."

Note: Per gohuskies.com, the Huskies have had three of their baseball players drafted so far on Wednesday. Washington right fielder Kyle Conley was the first Husky selected in the 2009 MLB Draft, going to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 7th round (219th overall). Shortly thereafter, Husky right-handed pitcher Brian Pearl was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 9th round (269th overall). Most recently, senior right-handed pitcher Jason Erickson was taken by the Pirates in the 24th round. Erickson, from White River High, was a 45th-round selection out of high school (2006) draft, so he moved up considerably as well.


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