The UW quarterback was drafted in the 10th round of this year's baseball draft
For now, Jake Locker plans only to be a Husky in the Backfield. But should he ever want to be an Angel in the Outfield, the opportunity will be there for him.
The UW quarterback signed a contract Saturday with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim after meeting with officials from the team earlier in the day along with his father, Scott, who handled the negotiations.
The agreement came two days before the deadline to sign players who were taken in the June draft — the Angeles selected Locker, the state 3A baseball Player of the Year in 2006 at Ferndale, in the 10th round as a center fielder.
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Jake Locker said he didn’t want to go into details of the contract but that it was “kind of vague” as to whether there were any commitments to do anything baseball-related down the road. But there is apparently nothing in the deal that precludes him from playing football.
But with the signing, the Angels own Locker’s rights for the next six years and should he want to play baseball at any point during that time, he would have to play for them.
“It was just an opportunity that presented itself and it was something I didn’t believe would take away from me as a football player here,” Jake Locker said after UW’s practice Saturday night. “I want to play football and that’s what I’m going to put my focus into and the Angels have been great with me, worked with me, and they understand that and we’ll go from there.”
As for whether he might play baseball next summer — he could do that and remain eligible for college football — he said that was uncertain.
“That’s something we will just have to deal with when we get there,” he said. “We just worried about getting the contract done and they just told me to focus on this season and that would be something we will talk about after the season.”
Locker’s situation is similar to that of former Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon, who was drafted in the fifth round by the Braves in 2007. Dixon was reported to have received a $150,000 signing bonus and it’s thought that Locker may have been seeking something similar. The deal would also have to be enough to pay for Locker’s final two years of tuition at UW. By signing, he maintains his eligibility in football but he has to pay his own way and officially be termed a walk-on, opening up a scholarship for the Huskies.
Scott Locker said that as of now, Jake Locker does not plan to try to juggle both sports. However, he also noted that nothing is set.
“Obviously, there’s a chance that he doesn’t come back next year just because of the football thing,” Scott Locker said, noting that Jake Locker could declare for the NFL draft after this season if he desired. “I don’t think that’s going to happen, but it’s always out there. But he fully expects to be here and finish up here.”
The Angels valued Locker’s potential enough to gamble some money, even though he might never play for them.
“He’s a fabulous kid,” Angels scouting director Eddie Bane told the Los Angeles Times earlier this week. “A great leader with great ability. We want to keep the taste of baseball in his mouth until he makes a final decision.”
Some baseball scouts have long felt he may have just as good a future, if not potentially better, on the diamond than the gridiron.
One anonymous scout was quoted in Baseball America magazine earlier this year saying Locker “could be a potential Hall of Famer” on the diamond. He’s also viewed as a potential high-round draftee in football, though depending largely on how he progresses under new UW coach Steve Sarkisian.
Locker hasn’t played baseball since the spring of 2006 at Ferndale High other than 10 games for the Bellingham Bells of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League in the summer of 2008. He hit .273 with one home run while playing center field.
Sarkisian said of the signing, “that’s good for him. It’s a great deal.”
• Today is UW’s annual Picture Day at Husky Stadium. It will begin at 10 a.m. Otherwise, the Huskies will be off today, their first day off since camp started on Monday.
• The Huskies are scheduled to host their first major scrimmage of the fall on Tuesday at 3 p.m. Like all practices during camp, it is open to the public.
Bob Condotta: email@example.com