On December 5th, 2009 the Husky offense was on the field in the 4th quarter. They had dominated a quality opponent, California, in a way that they hadn’t since 2003. With Jake Locker on the field one last time the chant “one more year!” rained down from the 65,000 in attendance. Locker waved his arms in what many assumed was an attempt to quiet the crowd. The common thought is he wanted his offensive line to be able to hear the snap count. But I don’t think this flapping of his arms has been analyzed enough. On that fateful day in December maybe Jake discovered something more than an intense desire to come back to U-Dub for one more year, maybe he discovered that he could fly.
Of course Montlake Jake denied any thought of his new ability to fly, but he’s a humble kid and telling people this would put even more attention on him. Below are reasons why Jake may or may not be a Superhero.
Why Jake might just be a simple football player:
- His overall record. Although I believe the Huskies will have a successful year this year, Jake’s career college record is 8-18. If he was a superhero how could he let his team lose so much? Well, every superhero has a kryptonite. Jake’s was the villain Tyrone Willingham. Ty zapped some of our stars powers right out from under him and made such an impact that it caused Locker to feel a few after effects this year.
- His injuries. Since becoming a starter in 2007, Jake has missed a total of 10 games due to injury. Would a superhero really get hurt and miss that much time at the expense of his team’s record? There are two answers to that. The kryptonite, Ty, was at his work again. Putting Jake into impossible situations like being a lead blocker and taking hits every play. Even Batman couldn’t take that many hits. The other answer is Locker doesn’t want people to know his true identity. By getting injured, it keeps questions of his super-human ability away and keeps the NCAA from investigating. I wonder if the crime-rate in Seattle went up well he was injured?
- Jake doesn’t wear a mask or a cape. Okay, you got me here. Most superheroes wear masks and capes, Jake doesn’t. But he does wear a helmet.
Why Jake might be a superhero:
- His speed. When Locker gets in the open field, he is comparable to The Flash. This is evidenced by many runs, his 59-yard touchdown run against Arizona this year and the first time he took off up the field against Syracuse in 2007 come to mind. He might even be holding back on his speed, ask the criminals who roam the Seattle streets at night.
- His strength. I only need to use one example to prove my point here. In the closing seconds against BYU in 2008 the Huskies were down by a touchdown. Jake had the ball at the three yard-line and scrambled to his left. Locker broke 3 tackles as he barreled his way into the end-zone. After scoring, Locker meant to toss the ball a few feet in the air as he jumped into his teammates arms. But Jake got caught up in the moment and forgot about his own strength. The ball went sailing 20-30 feet in the air and the pac-10 refs (boo!) called a penalty. Locker is lucky much of the blame went on the officials because if it hadn’t Jake’s superhuman strength would’ve been further noticed.
- His presence. There’s a feeling of hope when Spiderman is soaring above the streets in New York City. The same is true at Husky Stadium. From the moment Jake got to Montlake, players have raved about his on and off the field presence. And when he’s on the field there’s that feeling of hope that is comparable to that of a superhero flying above the city.
The consensus is still out on whether Locker is a simple football player or a stealthy superhero. No one on the Huskies offense confessed that they saw him levitating in the 4th quarter against Cal, although I bet they did. We’ll know more come next December. But I’m looking forward to another year of evidence that number 10 should be wearing a cape and a mask.