BY Steve Rudman 04:14PM 12/27/2010

Not just the QB, but the talent around him

Locker’s legacy has as much to do with teammates as his play

Jake Locker has not played with the quality of teammates that many of his predecessors did (Drew McKenzie/Sportspress Northwest)

No University of Washington quarterback of recent vintage has been asked to do more, and been surrounded with less, than Jake Locker, who plays his final college football game Thursday night in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego.

Since the Ferndale senior first stepped on the Washington campus in 2007, he has played with only two players deemed good enough — so far — to warrant selection in the National Football League draft (linebacker Mason Foster could hike Locker’s total of NFL-drafted teammates to three).

Such a paucity of surrounding talent, elaborated upon by Sportspress Northwest’s Todd Dybas elsewhere in Pressing The Point, is why Tyrone Willingham was ousted, why Steve Sarkisian was hired, and why Locker has often endured criticism for failing to produce better team results. But one player, even as gifted as Locker, can do only so much when the talent around him is in the bottom tier of the conference.

When Chris Chandler quarterbacked the Huskies in the mid-to-late 80s, his teammates included 18 individuals (not counting himself) who would go on to be drafted, and 10 players who made first-team All-Pac-10.  The 18 included three No. 1 picks (DT Ron Holmes, LB Joe Kelly and DE Reggie Rogers), two No. 2s and four No. 3s. Again, Locker has played with two NFL draft pick, both of whom were selected in the third round.

Steve Pelluer (1982-84) found himself surrounded with 16 future NFL draft choices and 11 All-Pac-10 performers, the biggest reason why the UW teams he directed went 28-7-0 while the UW went 14-24-0 in games Locker quarterbacked and 0-8 in games he didn’t.

The chart breaks down all UW starting quarterbacks since 1975, and ranks them according to the number of draft choices with whom they played. Note that while Locker has played with only two in four years, Tom Porras played with six in his only season as a starter, 1978.

Player Career Record Draft Picks 1st-Team All-Pac-10 Notable teammates
Chris Chandler 1985-87 22-12-1 18 10 Joe Kelly,  Reggie Rogers,  Kevin Gogan
Steve Pelluer 1981-83 28-8-0 16 11 Ray Horton,  Paul Skansi,  Vince Newsome
Brock Huard 1996-98 25-13-0 15 15 Corey Dillon,  Cam Cleeland,  Olin Kruetz
Warren Moon 1975-77 21-13-0 13 8 Blair Bush,  Michael Jackson,  Nesby Glasgow
Tom Flick 1979-80 19-5-0 13 8 Doug Martin,  Curt Marsh,  Mark Lee
Hugh Millen 1984-85 18-6-0 11 6 Ron Holmes, Joe Kelly,  Vestee Jackson
Cary Conklin 1988-89 14-9-0 11 2 Mike Zandofsky,  Bern Brostek,  Dennis Brown
Mark Brunell 1990, ’92 19-5-0 11 11 Lincoln Kennedy,  Steve Emtman,  Dana Hall
Billy Joe Hobert 1991 12-0-0 11 7 Steve Emtman,  Dana Hall,  Aaron Pierce
Damon Huard 1993-95 21-12-1 9 10 N. Kaufman,  Lawyer Milloy,  Mark Bruener
M. Tuiasosopo 1999-00 18-6-0 7 5 Joe Jarzynka,  Elliott Silvers,  Larry Triplett
Cody Pickett 2001-03 21-16-0 7 4 Reggie Williams,  Jerramy Stevens,  Larry Triplett
Tom Porras 1978 7-4-0 6 5 Jeff Toews,  Michael Jackson,  Nesby Glasgow
Jake Locker 2007-10 14-24-0 2 1 M. Foster,  J. Kearse,  D. Te’o-Nesheim
Isaiah Stanback 2005-06 7-16-0 1 1 Louis Rankin,  Marcel Reese,  Joe Toledo
Casey Paus 2004 1-10-0 0 0 S. Shackelford,  Kenny James,  C. Frederick
Ronnie Fouch 2008 0-12-0* 0 0 D’Andre Goodwin,  Mason Foster,  Nate Williams

During the 18-year tenure of Don James (1975-92), 109 Huskies were selected in the NFL draft, including 10 in the first round. In the past 17 years (since James resigned), only 43 Huskies have been taken in the draft, four in the first round.


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    • Lucky Infidel

      Perhaps the dearth of talent around Locker explains why the team has sucked, but that does not explain why he still, in his final year, looks like the most awkward purported “big time” quarterback when passing that I can remember, at least as it relates to the Huskies. The fact Locker even received the incredible praise he has is more testament to the blindness of certain Husky fans and their overall desperation for a savior. I pray to God the Seahawks do not draft him. Would be a cute story yet a disaster from the perspective of placing our hopes on him as the quarterback of the future. If he is smart he will go into baseball upon graduation.

  • oliner

    Infidel’s (above) comments are outrageous. It always gets me when people think they have some transitive property of inequality for talent measures. Jake exudes talent – and, just as important – he exudes character. To me, he’s been a bright spot for all the time he’s spent at Washington. I fervently hope the Seahawks DO draft him.
    I hope Sark does not discount intelligence and acceleration in his recruting. These are two assets that are vital for our ongoing success. Thanks Jake and thanks to his teammates for the the fun I’m gonna have watching the Holiday bowl.

  • Lucky Infidel

    “Infidel’s (above) comments are outrageous. It always gets me when people think they have some transitive property of inequality for talent measures. Jake exudes talent – and, just as important – he exudes character. To me, he’s been a bright spot for all the time he’s spent at Washington. I fervently hope the Seahawks DO draft him.”

    Good, he can become a priest.

    • Dave J

      No doubt there’s a huge disparity once you get to Locker’s place in the list, and explains the losing records.

      An interesting addition to the data above would be the QB’s years as a pro, as several former Dawgs are of the longest tenured in the NFL, and the QB with the best UW record didn’t last but a season (?) – Billy Joe Hobert.

  • 1coolguy

    This is a valuable chart – how about keeping it somewhere in the Husky Football section for reference?

    The lack of talent around Locker cannot be any more clear, given this list.

    Even so, it will be interesting to see Jake perform in the Senior Bowl and the combine, to see whether he can pick up more of the qualities of a good, NFL – quality QB. He has a way to go and hopefully this last part is something he can acquire.

  • bhamhusky

    Will Locker be Football’s Tim Linsecum, the won Seattle let get away?