PULLMAN – Somewhere in Ferndale, Wash., there is a family tree with a huge crack down the middle.
No matter. It’s being held together with a multi-colored scarf.
“I think it will be the most evident with my grandma and grandpa,” University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker said. “My grandma, one of her friends made her a scarf with half of it red and gray and the other half purple and gold so she plans on wearing that.
“My grandpa’s got a hat that might be half-and-half. For them, I think it’s a little different.”
Jake Locker is in his third season playing for the Huskies. A media darling, there is talk he could be the top quarterback chosen in the NFL draft next spring if he decides to declare. The 6-foot-3, 226-pound redshirt junior has already signed a professional baseball contract with the Angels.
He has passed for 2,356 yards this year, including 17 touchdowns, completing nearly 57 percent of his throws. He’s also run for 217 yards.
His cousin, Casey Locker, is a freshman at Washington State. A safety, he is taking his redshirt, spending Cougar practices either with the scout team or learning the schemes he’ll play next season.
Though their circumstances are different and though they are separated by nearly 300 miles, they are still close, talking on the phone throughout the season.
“When we were growing up, they were either at my house or I was at their house every weekend,” Jake said.
This week, though, could have featured a different tenor.
“Obviously I wish I was playing,” said Casey, who hopes to put weight on his 5-11, 177-pound frame this season. “Being a football player you want to be on the field helping your team. But since this is my redshirt year and Jake (is playing), I kind of like the fact I’m not playing, just not dealing with the whole thing.”
But if he were, wouldn’t he have to hit his cousin? Wouldn’t that be tough after growing up together in Ferndale, playing football and baseball together, having family holidays together?
“That would be weird,” Casey admitted. “Being on his team since I was little, that would be awkward playing against him. But I would hit him, and I would go low. He’s a hoss.”
The Lockers come from a football background. Casey’s dad, John, and Jake’s father, Scott, are brothers who played for Western Washington in Bellingham.
Both Jake and Casey had offers from the state’s two biggest schools – three years apart, both also played safety and quarterback for Ferndale High, though Jake was the bigger prep star – but took different paths.
“I went over there on an unofficial (recruiting) visit,” Jake said. “It was great area, great campus. But in the end things worked (at UW).”
“I just couldn’t see myself fitting (in Seattle),” Casey said, adding Jake didn’t put on any pressure. “He basically wanted me to do what was best for me. He was really supportive.”
Both are happy with their choices, but it has caused that crack in the family unity.
“I’m sure for Casey’s family, my aunt and uncle, will be in their Cougar stuff, I know my parents will be in their Husky stuff,” Jake said. “It’s a friendly thing. It’s not something that’s causing problems or anything but I’m sure it’ll be a good time on Saturday.”