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Originally published June 24, 2009 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 24, 2009 at 10:31 AM

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Football is still his priority, but Jake Locker to meet with Angels

If the UW quarterback signs a deal, Los Angeles will own the baseball rights to him for the next six years. His father says it's a backup plan if football doesn't pan out.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Whatever Jake Locker's baseball future may be, it figured to get a lot clearer on Tuesday night.

The Huskies quarterback and his father, Scott, were scheduled to sit down for a face-to-face meeting with officials from the Los Angeles Angels for the first time since the team drafted Locker 13 days ago.

"It will be our first chance to see what direction this is going," Scott Locker said on Tuesday morning before heading to Seattle for the meeting. Locker is acting as his son's adviser as Jake Locker cannot hire an agent without losing his football eligibility.

What Scott Locker said has remained clear in the two weeks since the Angels drafted Locker in the 10th round, however, is his son's commitment to football.

"His main goal in life is to be a next-level football guy," Scott Locker said. "He wants to play on Sundays, and that's the goal."

Scott Locker said Jake has continued to make it clear to the Angels that he does not want to play baseball this summer even if he signs, and is unlikely to want to play next summer, though that hasn't been completely ruled out.

But the Angels are apparently fine with that as their interest in Locker remains far in the future. If the Angels sign him by Aug. 17, they will hold his rights for the next six years, banking that he may want to turn to baseball someday if football doesn't work out.

"In all the initial talks and things it was all about just the down-the-road prospect of having him should he hit a bump in his football career," Scott Locker said. "Then they would be the first in line."

Jake Locker has two years of football eligibility left and is regarded as a possible high NFL draft pick depending in part on how his final seasons at UW play out. Locker has also long been considered a top-flight baseball prospect, one anonymous scout recently quoted in Baseball America magazine saying Locker "could be a potential Hall of Famer" on the diamond. He was drafted by the Angels as a center fielder.

For now, however, Jake Locker has chosen football.

But the allure of signing a baseball contract with the Angels is enticing for a number of reasons, notably that it would secure a non-football option if needed and give him some cash right now.

Were Locker to sign with the Angels he would have to give up his football scholarship at UW and become technically a walk-on (which would help UW by freeing up a scholarship, which could be particularly helpful in recruiting for 2010 with a small senior class this fall).

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Giving up the scholarship, however, means the family would be looking for the Angels to cover the cost of his last two years of school, roughly $60,000 or so. Locker is on track to graduate by next spring at the latest with a degree in history.

After that, however, the negotiating could be a little tricky as there aren't a lot of precedents for signing a player pretty much just to hold his rights.

"They'd be putting out something for an unknown result, so it's kind of a gray area," Scott Locker said. "Not a lot of situations where you can compare those things."

Players picked in the 10th round signed pretty hefty bonuses last year — 11 of the 21 got bonuses of at least $100,000 and three signed for $400,000 or more.

Scott Locker said getting some immediate money could actually help his son's football career. He said Jake Locker has held a summer job every year he's been at UW, last summer working in essentially a day-care capacity helping watch over a group of kids, and in past years working with his father's construction business in Ferndale.

"If he can avoid those kinds of things he can focus even more of his time on football," Scott Locker said. "That's the way he's looking at it."

Jake Locker hasn't gotten a summer job this year, his father said, waiting to see how the contract situation with the Angels plays out.

While the drafting of Jake Locker might have caught fans by surprise, Scott Locker said a number of Major League teams began contacting his son in the spring to assess his interest. Jake Locker had also been taken in the 40th round by the Angels in 2005 after leaving high school. But at that time, with his sights set solely on football, he made it clear he wasn't real interested in signing.

This year, however, Jake Locker showed more interest in at least signing and increasing his future options, his father said.

"Now that you're getting a little older you look at things a little different," Scott Locker said. "I don't like calling it a fallback because that doesn't do justice to having a chance to play Major League Baseball.

"But it's a great thing for anybody to have options and for him to keep that door open is kind of an intriguing thing for him."

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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