Commitment Impact: Jake Locker

When Washington's season ended with a 42-10 win over Cal at home, the number one recruit on Steve Sarkisian's radar became fourth-year junior QB Jake Locker. What happened on Monday, December 14th could portend good things down the road as the Huskies will be preseason favorites for a bowl game and with another year of seasoning, big things could be on the horizon for the talented signal-caller...

So, the question then becomes -- How does Locker's commitment to return impact the Washington roster?

That's an easy answer to come up with mainly because it's so obvious.

Locker went from a career 48.6% completion rate and raised it to a 53.4% rate this year alone under Sarkisian and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier's tutelage. He completed 58% of his passes this fall while throwing for 2,800 yards and 21 touchdowns to only 11 interceptions.

What Locker brings to Washington's offense is the element of the big play. He can run, as evidenced by his 1,554 yards rushing in 28 career games to go along with his 23 touchdowns, although with Sarkisian's coaching, the talented junior only rushed for seven scores and 388 total yards when you include touchdowns.

While he adds the element of unpredictability to the offense, what is tougher to gauge is how he will grow within the pro style system that Sarkisian and Nussmeier installed this season.

At times, Locker looked a bit confused on whether he should take off and run or wait for his receivers to break open down the field. There were several times he either had to throw the ball away instead of running for a sure touchdown or first down or he took a sack when he should have thrown the ball away or escaped and used his speed and running ability.

Will he find the delicate balance that will have NFL scouts and pro personnel people falling all over themselves in the spring of 2011 to get their hands on him or will he be another in a long line of talented, yet underdeveloped signal-callers that have gotten big money early on to only flame out within five years of moving on to the NFL.

As far as football is concerned, Locker made the best decision for his future pro career. He will spend another year under the guidance of one of the top QB-developers in the country in a system that helps prepare quarterbacks for the pro game down the road. He will get 15 spring practices, 20 or so fall practices and up to 13 games to continue to hone his skills instead of collecting huge paychecks to hold a clipboard and not get any reps.

Locker's commitment to return also impacts this incoming class because the Huskies likely would have needed to look for a JUCO quarterback or another prep quarterback to bring in so they could have their full compliment of passers on the roster. Without Locker, Washington would have been relying on fourth-year junior Ronnie Fouch and redshirt-freshman Keith Price to battle things out this spring and summer in order to find the right man to lead the improving Husky attack.

Now, both can spend another season under Sarkisian's direction and battle it out for the top spot in the spring of 2011 for the right to replace Jake in the lineup. Also in the fold will be Nick Montana who will sign with Washington in February and there could also be another top signal-caller in the mix when the 2011 class signs.

The future looked bright for Washington without Locker in the fold, but with him, the Husky program as well as its beleagured fanbase can dream big in 2010 and beyond...

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