In 2005, quarterback Jake Locker passed for 1,603 yards and 25 touchdowns while leading Ferndale High School to the Washington Class 3A state title.
Clark Hazlett was watching.
“Ferndale is in our conference and we play them every year,” Hazlett said. “I’ve met (Locker) a few times, and seeing him play in high school and then going on to play in college at Washington, he was really my hero and my model for playing football. And now he’s in the NFL. I’ve really tried to follow his path and play the game like he did.”
It’s a difficult path, to say the least, considering Locker is now the starting quarterback for the Tennessee Titans after being selected No. 8 overall in the 2011 draft.
But Hazlett, a junior QB at Squalicum High School in Bellingham, Wash., is certainly off to a good start.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder has been the Storm’s starting quarterback since he was a freshman, and Hazlett completed 18 of 22 passes for 303 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first game as a junior this season, a 48-28 win over Kingston.
“I’m really happy,” Hazlett said. “Our coaches really prepared us all this summer. It was really good seeing us come out and playing how we played because that’s kind of how the coaches envisioned it.”
Having such a polished player under center should bring Squalicum even more wins this year.
As Hazlett has developed his game, Squalicum has wisely changed its offense.
“My freshman year, we ran out of the Power I with no shotgun or anything,” Hazlett said. “Sophomore year, we were still going Power I and we had a little bit of the shotgun, but we hardly ever went into that package. This year, we are now running all out of the shotgun, and running the read option. Now I can be more a dual threat with my speed, too.”
Hazlett carried the ball 6 times for 40 yards in the Storm’s season-opening win over Kingston, but with his passing skills and experience, Squalicum is a team capable of airing it out and putting big points up on the scoreboard.
“I have matured,” Hazlett said. “My freshman year, I forced the ball a lot and I didn’t really go through any progressions. Now I can slow down and really read the defense more and can break down where I want to point the ball. I also think my mechanics, working with (Coach) JC (Boice) and NFA over the years, my mechanics have really improved and I feel like I can make any throw I need to make.”
Hazlett has been going to NFA camps since he was in sixth grade, and this past year the talented QB attended the Seattle OSD, Virginia R4 Clinic and PSPs in Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Hazlett also attended the QB Spotlight in Atlanta and was a Top 10 finisher at the Duel of the Dozens in Ohio.
“Over the years, each step by step, I’ve been having something I needed to improve when I’d go to an NFA camp,” Hazlett said. “And the next time I’d see them at an NFA camp I’d feel like I had improved. Now we’re just getting down to little details with a little footwork on my five-step drop. I really think they really cracked the code for me in becoming a quarterback, and not only just being a quarterback but also becoming a young man as well.”
Hazlett wants to play quarterback at the next level, and Nebraska, Boise State, Washington, Eastern Washington and Oregon State are all on his radar.