The legend in the Pacific Northwest is that when Jake isn't quarterbacking the Huskies he is practicing walking on water, turning water into wine, working toward solving the Israeli/Palestinian dispute, walking elderly ladies across Montlake Boulevard, and discovering the cure for cancer.
It is really hard not to like this kid because he personifies and is a throw back to everything that has been Husky over the past 100 years. You look into this kids eyes and you see a little Bob Schloredt, Marques Tuiasosopo, and Don Heinrich mixed in to his makeup. Make no mistake about it, this kid has the potential to be the best quarterback that Washington has ever had.
I bring up Bob Schloredt because he was a two way player at Washington. He played a ferocious safety, and he was an excellent QB who led his team to two Rose Bowls. Bob was known for his running more than his throwing. I bring up Don Heinrich because he just still may be the best passing QB we have ever had. One thing Heinrich, and Schloredt both had was great leadership skills and the ability to elevate the play of everyone else around them. Jake has the ability to run like Schloredt, throw like Heinrich, and lead like Marques Tuiasosopo. He also has the ability to play about anywhere on the field and be an All American. Jake would make one heck if a safety.
Jakes goal in 2008 is to complete 65% of his passes! Think about that for a minute, only three Washington QB's have thrown for over 60% over the past 60 years! His position coach Tim Lappano thinks it is a doable goal even though he only completed 47% last year while learning the offense. This past Spring he accomplished that goal in scrimmages, and in the spring game, he also has been doing that in informal preseason workouts, and his continued that in the first week of practice the fall.
This past spring the Husky offensive coaches spent some time hanging out with Urban Meyer and his staff in Florida watching the Gators go through spring drills. Lappano says it is just uncanny how similar Tebow, and Locker are in makeup. Lappano feels that Jake has the ability to put together a Tebow like season in 2008.
On offense all the pieces are there to make it happen because everything starts with an experienced and talented offensive line. The only questions are at receiver, and running back, but the players vying for those positions may just be the most talented group Washington has had to work with since the mid 1990's. If those kids jell early, and all indications so far have been positive, this could be a breakthrough season for the Washington offense, and Jake Locker.
Jake's goal for 2008 is simple, complete more passes, improve accuracy, and try to get out of bounds before taking viscous hits from the head hunting defenses that will be targeting him. Make no mistake about it, there will be someone shadowing Locker in every game he plays this season. He isn't going to sneak up on anyone anymore. If Jake gets close to 60% this team is going to go bowling in 2008. He only completed 47% last year, but his receivers didn't do him any favors because we would usually count around 5-6 dropped balls each week. If those balls had been caught there is a pretty good chance the team would have won 4-5 more games in 2007.
The players surrounding Jake in the skill positions may lack experience, but like we said above they have a lot of talent. I feel Jake now has the experience to go along with the ability to elevate the play of those inexperienced pieces. I look for Jake to have a big season in 2008. If he does the Huskies should return to a bowl game. Maybe if we are lucky a cure for cancer is just around the corner.