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