When the Angels drafted Jake Locker in the 10th round last June, it seemed like a what-the-heck moment.
The Washington Huskies quarterback was clear all along that he wanted to make a career out of playing football, but the Angels coveted his rare athletic ability enough to spend a mid-round pick. Then, when they gave him a signing bonus reportedly worth $300,000, things got a bit more serious. The Angels hoped to talk Locker out of playing football before his senior season.
That hasn’t worked. As the Angels are preparing for spring training, Locker is preparing for spring football. And he’s living on the Angels’ dime. He had to give up his scholarship when he took their money last summer.
Angels scouting director Eddie Bane said he’s not giving up just yet.
“Shoot, I’d love to see him give it his best shot at being our starting center fielder in a few years and all that type of stuff, but look at the finances,” Bane said. “Jake has a passion for whatever he’s doing whether it’s football, it’s tiddlywinks or it’s baseball. Unfortunately for us, he’s really good at everything he tries to do.”
Pundits have said Locker, who combines rare size, speed and arm strength, would have been the top quarterback selected this April, but he announced he was returning for his senior season under Coach Steve Sarkisian.
Quietly, Locker has flown to Arizona a couple of times in the last two months to work out at the Angels’ spring training complex.