Kentucky Football: Is Drew Barker our most important recruit ever?

Student Sports

Tim Couch was our best recruit ever in the modern era, but is Drew Barker our most important recruit ever?

Some historical context before I discuss Barker.

Bill Curry came to Kentucky from Alabama. UK fans were as excited as they are today. Alabama fans were just as excited because he left Alabama. During his three years there, he posted some pretty good records, but he couldn't beat Auburn and his bowl record of 1-2 did not meet Alabama standards or fan expectations.

According to Wikipedia:

In early 1990, Curry received a contract which contained provisions he disliked, including no raise and removal of his power to hire and fire assistants, Curry was particularly upset by this since he'd led the Tide to its first SEC title since the Bryant era. He responded by accepting a job offer to become the head coach at the University of Kentucky.

At Kentucky, Curry went through 3 offensive coordinators. Tommy Bowden left for Auburn after Curry's first year, Daryl Dickey was hired after Bowden left, and Curry hired Colorado OC Elliot Uzelac for his final two seasons. Under Uzelac's offense, Kentucky suffered through two consecutive 4-7 seasons which was preceded by a 1-10 season in 1994.

Couch spent most of his freshman year as a red shirt under Bill Curry in an Uzelac offense which was led by the gutty Billy Jack Haskins. If you'll recall, the fans clamored for Curry to "Turn the Deuce Loose!!!" That prompted Athletic Director C.M. Newton to suggest that if UK fans didn't like the way Curry was running things, then maybe they ought to go cheer for another team.

Many fans believed that Curry broke Couch's redshirt out of spite in the middle of the season. Billy Jack Haskins wasn't the problem. It was Uzelac's offense. Curry was fired after the Cats went 1-6 in their first seven games.

The greatness of Tim Couch was shown under Hal Mumme's Air Raid. In his first game under Mumme, Couch led the Cats to a 38-24 win over Louisville. The next two years saw Kentucky leading the nation in several offensive categories, with Couch setting SEC and NCAA records. His career at Kentucky ended early with a selection as the number one player in the NFL Draft.

No one knows how Drew Barker will compare with the great Tim Couch. That remains to be seen. Barker's commitment, however, had the same effect as Couch's decision to play for the home-state school. Barker's commitment may have a bigger impact on the future of Kentucky football. Couch's career at Kentucky had an influence on Barker's decision; he decided to become a hero.

What differentiates Barker's commitment from Couch's is the world we live in today. There was no Facebook or Twitter when Couch came on board. Barker is making positive use of both and is a primary influence in the other recruits Stoops & Company are bringing in the door. This young man shows leadership that Couch didn't have the same opportunity to show as a recruit. Here's how:

Barker has developed relationships with UK targets through Twitter. He has a diary that's available over at Kentucky Sports Radio. He created a Twitter account for Kentucky commitments to use in contacting and talking with other UK recruits. By doing so, he's established his leadership which will carry over into to practice and on the field of play, even if he red shirts his first year. That may not happen.

He may come in a 2014 freshman and win the starting spot. This coaching staff will put the best player on the field and Barker could very well be the guy. He has 2013 to improve his ratings and he seems to be doing a good job of it. We'll see how he does at the Elite 11 in August. He has an opportunity to wind up as a Rivals 5 star quarterback before his 2013 season is over. It isn't often that Kentucky recruits and lands this kind of player with the leadership skills of Drew Barker. If he can perform like Tim Couch, Dusty Bonner, and Jared Lorenzen, we've got ourselves someone unique.

As the Church Lady would say, "Isn't that SPEC-IAL!?"

What say you?

Links:

Bill Curry - Wikipedia

UK 2012 Media Guide page 192 - UK Athletics

The Drew Barker Diary - KSR

Church Lady -Wikipedia

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