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Mission accomplished
From altruistic, to mooncalf, to titan
Rich Linde, 29 April 2011

It is said that the Ghost in Hamlet haunts Denny Hall at night, while the Dour Dane haunts the vestiges of Denny Field.

Courtesy: Kim Grinolds, dawgman.com

They say nice guys finish last.

In 2009, quarterback Jake Locker decided to forego the 2010 NFL draft -- and ostensibly give up millions of dollars as a first-round pick -- so he could lead the Washington Huskies to a bowl game in his last season as a Dawg.

Locker's 2009 image: A nice guy, altruistic, but a potential loser.

Last season, thanks to Locker, the Huskies beat Nebraska 19-7 in the Holiday Bowl, their first bowl appearance in eight years and first bowl victory since the 2000 Rose Bowl. (Photo left Jake Locker).

Faced with Nebraska's ferocious pass defense, Locker wisely threw a number of balls away to avoid interceptions. The two games against the Blackshirts in 2010 lowered Locker's completion percentage to 55% (otherwise he was throwing at a 60% clip over his last 12 starts dating back to his last two games in 2009).

His critics jumped all over him, saying he had an accuracy problem, some saying he would likely go in the second or third round of this year's draft, not in the first. For example, ESPN's Ted Miller left Jake off his list of top 25 players in the Pac-10 for 2010. The pessimistic Miler has since been haunted by the Dour Dane, the crown jewel of pessimism, whether it be Gil Dobie or Hamlet.

Locker's 2010 image: A nice guy, who finished last. What a mooncalf.

Yesterday in the 2011 NFL draft, the Tennessee Titans chose Locker as the eighth pick in the first round of the NFL draft, as the second quarterback taken in the draft, as the first Husky quarterback ever to be selected as a first-round pick.

Locker's 2011 image: Mission accomplished, a nice guy who finished first, a titan of a guy. 

Heaven help the foes of Washington.

Richard Linde can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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