Washington State Football: WSU Loads Up with In-State Talent (Part Two)

Lew WrightSenior Writer IMarch 24, 2009

TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 13:  A Washington State Cougars helmet showing the initials of Pat Tillman next to the American flag during the Arizona State Sun Devils against Washington State Cougars Pac-10 game at Sun Devil Stadium/Frank Kush Field on November 13, 2004 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

With the official beginning of spring practice for Washington State football just a couple of days away, let’s continue our look at some of the outstanding talent committed to play for Coach Paul Wulff.

The Class of 2009 looks to be one of the best recruiting classes in many, many years. Time will tell if that proves to be the case, but the group is stocked with first rate young men.

In this article, you’ll get a little background on two more student athletes from the Evergreen State that look to make an impact on Cougar football.


Casey Locker

Casey Locker was a three-sport star at Ferndale HS. He earned four varsity letters playing for Coach Jamie Plenkovich.  A two-way star in high school, the 5’10” Locker will play in the defensive backfield for the Cougs.

Locker’s freshman year at Ferndale can’t be topped, as the Eagles went a perfect 14-0 on the season that culminated in a state championship. In his sophomore year, the team went 10-1 and Casey was named first-team All-Northwest League at safety. The following year, he was recognized for outstanding play on both sides of the ball, being named All-League at both safety and the quarterback position. He was named Northwest League’s Most Valuable Player and Associated Press 3-A All-State honorable mention.

Locker terrorized defenses by rushing for 675 yards and 12 touchdowns while launching an aerial attack with 63-121 passes, amassing 1,115 yards and 10 touchdowns. Casey proved his junior year wasn’t a fluke, by completing 65 of 113 passes for 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior. He rushed for another 693 yards on 87 carries, crossing the end zone 11 times. For good measure, he also had a two point conversion.

With these stats, you’d expect the accolades to roll in. And they did.

Locker was named Tacoma News Tribune Northwest Nugget honorable mention and Seattle Times Red Chip prospect. The Seattle Times and TNT named him All-State at safety. Associated Press tapped him 3-A All-State quarterback. Whatcome County Herald named Locker league MVP and first-team All-League at both quarterback and safety. He was named preseason All-State by MaxPreps.

Scout.com rated Locker No. 35 on Washington’s Top 40 list and No. 70 on their Northwest Hot 150.

John and Traci Locker are the proud parents of Casey, his sister Haley, and brothers Riley and Brady. Brady plays baseball for Skagit Valley. Casey’s grandfather, Ed Brown, is a long-time Coug. Some of you may have heard about Casey’s cousin Jake who plays quarterback for the Washington Huskies.

“Casey and Nolan (Washington) and Gino (Simone) all spent time in the summer league that won the 7-on-7 National Championship. Casey is one of those guys who is tough, but not a real big talker. We need him to continue to develop. He’s our kind of guy; tough, blue-collar kid. He’ll be a great Coug for this team and program, a kind of guy who has a tremendous IQ.”—Coach Paul Wulff on Casey Locker


Travis Long

Travis Long hails from Spokane, WA, where he was a three-year starter at Gonzaga Prep for Coach David McKenna. The 6’4”, 245 pound Long played tight end, defensive end, and linebacker for the Bullpups.

Long enjoyed a terrific sophomore season as Gonzaga Prep went 12-1, finishing third in the state. He was named to the All-Greater Spokane League second team at linebacker after snagging three interceptions and blocking three punts. Travis was named to the All-Greater Spokane League team at linebacker again his junior season. Opposing teams focused on Long’s play, limiting him to one interception and one blocked punt.

The honors rolled in for Long following his senior year. Tacoma News Tribune named him Northwest Nugget honorable mention and the Seattle Times tapped him as a Red Chip prospect. For his work on the defensive line Associated Press named him to the 4-A All-State First Team, as well as Seattle Times naming him All-State. Long was the TNT All-State tight end. He shared the honor of All-Greater Spokane League Defensive Player of the Year with fellow Coug signee Chris Mastin. He was also All-GSL First Team as a defensive lineman. MaxPreps named Long as preseason All-State at tight end.

Rivals.com rated Travis the No. 13 prospect in Washington. Scout.com rated him No. 5 at tight end in the West, No. 17 on their Northwest Hot 100, No. 42 at tight end nationally, and No. 70 on their West Hot 150. He was also a member of TNT’s Western 100.

Travis Long was born at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane. His parents are Alan Long, Kathleen Cronquist and stepfather Michael Cronquist. He has a younger sister, Anna. Travis comes from a long line of Cougs with two uncles, two aunts, and his stepfather all attending Washington State. His cousin, Chris Snyder, played football at Montana and went on to the NFL. His uncle, Steve Snyder, played his college football at Montana State. Travis excels in the classroom, with a 3.89 GPA, a U.S. Army Scholar-Athlete as a junior, and a National Honor Society member. He plans to pursue a degree in engineering at WSU.

“Travis is a 3.9 student who has all the intangibles we are looking for. He has a lot of similarities to (current Cougar) Kenny Alfred, not on the athletic side of it, but when talking about toughness, smarts, competitiveness. He is not going to take a back seat to anybody. He is young and has some learning to do, but when it is all said and done, Travis is going to have a great career here.”—Coach Paul Wulff on Travis Long

The more you get to know the young men comprising the Class of 2009, the more you get excited about Cougar football.



Originally published on Examiner.com

Follow Lew Wright on twitter.com: cougarlew