In spite of an overwhelmingly ineffective tenure in the won-loss column, it could be credibly argued that, in his four years as the University of Washington's starting quarterback, Jake Locker saved Husky football. Simply by stepping onto the field, Locker, an insanely gifted athlete who opted to stay in his home state to play college football despite scores of sexier suitors, gave Husky fans a sense of hope they hadn't felt since the debauched Neuheisel years. Hope's a wonderful promise, but in Locker's case, it's proven to be a hollow one. Only if the Dawgs win out and make it to an F-List bowl game can even a tepid claim to the contrary be made.
But even without getting into the whole leadership/demeanor debate, he's suffered through a truly awful season by any statistical measure. Part of this is no doubt due to the fact that he's played hurt much of the year, and is forced to execute an offensive scheme that doesn't optimize his legs. Yet while numbers don't tell the whole story, they don't typically lie either. And Locker's numbers this year have been lackluster, to put it kindly.
On the ground, he's run for 262 yards and averaged 3.3 yards per carry, a far cry from his freewheeling freshman year, when he rushed for 986 and averaged 5.7 . Granted, that was in a very different scheme under a different coach, but the disparity is nonetheless galling. By air, he has the worst completion percentage and overall rating in the Pac-10, save for UCLA's dreadful tandem.
Speaking of that dreadful tandem, Locker almost out-crapped them in last night's brutally ugly win over Neuheisel's Bruins, virtually assuring that the ESPN crew won't be booking any mid-week flights to Sea-Tac anytime soon. The UCLA quarterbacks combined for 55 yards passing; Locker, in his final home game as a Husky, threw for 68 yards, completed 10 of his 21 passes, and threw a bumbleheaded interception that put his team in a hole it didn't dig out of until the second half. The performance represented Locker at his very worst at a point in his career when he should be a dominant force in every game, even if his teammates can't match his aptitude.
Locker is, by all accounts, a wonderfully well-rounded young man who has delivered some brilliant performances in his Husky career. He's got a lot to be proud of, and should be remembered fondly. He may well go on to have a glorious NFL career, provided his decision-making improves and he's paired with a coach who's committed to properly harnessing his talents. But anyone who holds him in higher esteem than, say, Cody Pickett needs to remove their lips from the bong.