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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

December 14, 2009 at 1:37 PM

Locker a “10-star recruit” — and Nussmeier turns down interview with San Jose State

About 11 a.m. today, the Husky coaches got the news.
Jake Locker, accompanied by his dog, a chocolate lab named, appropriately enough, Ten, walked into the UW football offices and told head coach Steve Sarkisian and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier a simple “I’m staying,” UW AD Scott Woodward soon joining the happy meeting.
And with that, the hopes for the 2009 Huskies leaped into a different stratosphere.
With Locker back, the Huskies will be expected to break a seven-year bowl drought and again return to winning. UW loses only fullback Paul Homer and OL Ben Ossai off what was a vastly improved offense in 2009. And with Locker returning to join 1,000-yard tailback Chris Polk and a talented group of receivers, the Huskies could have one of the best sets of skill position players in the country.
Woodward said the reaction of the UW coaches was what you would expect.
“You can only imagine,” he said, noting that Sarkisian said “this is the first time in history I’ve ever signed a 10-star recruit. Forget four- or five-star recruits. We got a 10-star recruit today.”
I had talked to Woodward earlier in the morning and he had said he was “very optimistic” that Locker was staying based on some conversations he had had with the player last week. Still, he said he didn’t know the news was coming today.
“I thought it (the announcement) was going to be early, but I just didn’t realize it was going to be this early,” Woodward said.
In fact, the deadline to apply to be evaluated by the NFL Advisory Committee is tomorrow, meaning the committee hasn’t even begun to return evaluations yet.
But Locker, who had filed for an evaluation last week, decided he didn’t want to wait. Woodward said Locker didn’t go into detail about his decision. But it seems pretty obvious — he enjoys being a Husky, being close to his family in Ferndale, and felt he could use another year of college to prepare for the NFL, especially now that he is under the tutelage of Sarkisian and Nussmeier.
It’s the third time he’s made the decision to be a UW QB instead of pursing other options, turning down opportunities to play pro baseball out of high school and again last summer. He did sign a contract with the Angels last year that paid him a reported $300,000, so he has a little bit of money right now, making it a little easier to delay his entry to the NFL.
Still, this decision was about more than business.
“I just think it shows the volume of what kind of character and quality guy we are dealing with in Jake Locker,” Woodward said. “He has been that way his whole career and this just reiterates it.”
Locker left the offices to return to classes — this is finals week at UW. He apparently wants to get through finals and the holidays before talking to the media, so there won’t be any comments from him today.
Locker’s decision will set in place the school’s first Heisman campaign of any note since the days of Cody Pickett and Reggie Williams.
Woodward said the plans for a campaign are not yet set, but that it will likely include “media buys” — advertisements of some kind — as well as a web site. “We will do whatever we can to help promote (his candidacy),”’ Woodward said.
Woodward said after hearing Locker make his decision, he told Sarkisian and Nussmeier that “you guys have got a lot of work to do to make him a better quarterback and us a better team.” Indeed, Locker’s decision obviously means that the Huskies will be expected to be bowling somewhere next holiday season.
“I think this is a much improved team and expectations are high with or without Jake,” he said. “But obviously expectations are a thing that coach Sark and this team likes and accepts.”
NUSSMEIER SAYS NO TO SAN JOSE STATE — It was a good day all around the UW football offices as it was also learned that Nussmeier decided not to pursue a possible head coaching position at San Jose State to stay in his current role as OC and quarterbacks coach at Washington.
San Jose State apparently wanted Nussmeier, who last year was offensive coordinator at WAC rival Fresno State, to come to campus for an in-person interview.
“He was contacted and spoke to San Jose State,” Woodward said. “He and their AD spoke for an hour and Doug has decided not to become a candidate. He likes the situation here and thinks it’s a great and better opportunity for he and his family to stay here.”

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