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Kentucky Football: The Curious Recruiting of Drew Barker

Andy Lyons

This young man has the mentality and work ethic that Kentucky fans should embrace from any player or recruit. Those few Kentucky football players who made it to the NFL all had these qualities. Read the linked article to understand this young man's work ethic.

Drew Barker's recruitment shows what is right with Mark Stoops and Neal Brown and what was wrong with Joker Phillips and, more especially, Randy Sanders.

After reading this article by Larry Vaught , my first reaction was anger at the previous staff. After thinking about it, however, my anger turned to head scratching and wonderment how the previous staff operated on the recruiting front. I also found it to be one of many symptoms as to why we’ve not had a winning season in the last three years. I just had to ask myself, "What in the world were they thinking?"

David Trosper, Barker’s coach: “It’s not like he has just surfaced as a top quarterback. Louisville offered him last spring. He has 10 other others. It’s just that Kentucky finally offered and that got his name out more in the state. The old Kentucky staff did not offer him. They recruited him just a little bit, but did not offer even though Rivals.com ranked him very highly and he had offers from Cincinnati, Western Kentucky, Purdue, Illinois, North Carolina, Louisiana Tech and South Carolina.”

Then, there's this from Barker himself, “When the new staff came in, I did not really think I liked Kentucky. Then they got in touch and I called them and we talked. The first thing they told me was not to hold grudges and come with an open mind to visit. It’s a brand new staff and new people. They knew the situation with me. They just wanted me to come down with an open mind. I came and left impressed and definitely interested in Kentucky.”

Obviously, Randy Sanders saw something he didn't like or he just thought that UK could offer at any time and Barker would jump at the chance to play for Kentucky. I don't think that would happen. As you read through this article by one of my favorite writers, It becomes clear that the previous staff almost looked down their noses at Kentucky kids regardless of talent. Maybe I am being a bit harsh, but what you read about Barker’s recruitment and combine it with what the Louisville Trinity coaches and players have said, you almost have to come to the same conclusion.

As I did a little more research for this piece, I came across this headline: Barker sets two spring visits to USC.. I thought I was going to throw up. Why would a kid with this much integrity and character want to play for a sleazeball like (as perceived by Rockytop and many other fans) Lane Kiffin and his Trojans, a team some think is named after a birth and disease control product? After clicking on the link, I was almost relieved that the USC in the headline was South Carolina.

Even though South Carolina is an SEC rival and a lot of people don’t care for Steve Spurrier’s personality, you do have to admit that he fits into the genius category as a quarterbacks coach and an offensive coordinator. If Barker chooses USC East, I can understand why.

If he chooses UK and Neal Brown’s Air Raid/Pistol combo, it is a testament to this UK staff’s ability to overcome the recruiting sins of the last staff. Either way he chooses, Drew Barker will find himself a winner because he has what it takes to be successful.

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