Future UK Quarterback Drew Barker will be writing a diary for KSR throughout his senior season to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at what’s going on in recruiting and the changes in the UK football program. Check out his earlier entries:
Hey guys, long time no talk. I’ve been pretty busy with football and school. Right now, our team is 2-1. We beat Boone County and Ryle and lost to Simon Kenton in a tough game, 32-45. They’re a really good team, rated top five in 6A, but we didn’t execute to our fullest potential in that game and it definitely cost us. But, we put that one in the books and this week, we’re getting ready for Campbell County, which is actually our homecoming, so it’ll be a pretty big game. Individually, here are my stats so far:
8/31 vs. Boone County (W, 40-7): 8/11 passing, 235 yards, 4 TDs; 4 rushes, 162 yards, 2 TDs
9/6 vs. Simon Kenton (L, 42-35): 27/44 passing, 344 yards, 4 TDs; 20 rushes, 53 yards, 1 TD
9/13 at Ryle (W, 21-7): 21/29 passing, 235 yards, 0 TDs; 15 rushes, 44 yards, 2 TDs
Our first district game is the week after next against South Oldham, but I’m actually going to have to miss some practice. My grandmother passed away on the day of the Boone County game and her funeral is next Monday in Richmond, Virginia, so my whole family will be traveling up for that.
I spent Saturday in Lexington for the Kentucky/Louisville game, which was awesome. It was crazy, definitely the best crowd I’ve ever seen at UK. When they came out at the beginning, it felt like a big-time college game, which is really good when you’re trying to sell the program to recruits. It was a tough outcome, but what I definitely took away from the game was if Louisville’s the #7 team in the country, we’re not really far off. We beat ourselves more than Louisville beat us.
The 2014 commits in town were me, Darius West, Thaddeus Snodgrass, Mike Edwards, Mikel Horton, Dorian Hendrix, Boom Williams, Adrian Middleton and Jarrett LaRubbio. Landon Young, the 2016 commit from LaFayette was there too, and he’s a beast. Recruit wise, of course Matt Elam was there. We’re still trying really hard to get him, and he got to hang out on the field before the game and talk to the coaches and stuff. He had another really good visit, which only solidifies my opinion that we’re in great position with him and I really think we have a great shot. He was really excited by how the defense played in the first half, getting to Bridgewater, and very encouraged by how the defensive line was playing under Coach Brumbaugh. I thought it helped a lot that he got to see it in person in that type of atmosphere. He’s coming back for the Alabama game, as are a lot of the guys, so that will be another big opportunity. Matt’s the main guy we’re going after, so we were really on him the whole time about joining the Big Blue Nation.
After the game, I got to hang out with the coaches and they were telling me and the other guys that were there that if you look at who made the big plays, they were all new guys and freshmen, which is a great sign of things to come. It goes to show that they’re staying true to their word that if you come to UK, you can get early playing time and we’re really going to turn it around, so I’m really looking forward to it.
Watching the game with the rest of the 2014 commits was great. We were all picturing ourselves out on the field. Right now, it’s all talk, so it doesn’t mean much, but we definitely wanted to be out there making those plays. I was itching to go out there, and I know the other guys were feeling the same way. My plan all along has been to come in and compete for the starting job. I’m going to bust my butt and work my hardest to reach my potential and definitely try to win the job. I know Max, Jalen, Patrick and Reese are going to be working hard and they already have a leg up on me right now. They’re doing a great job after getting thrown into the new system, and I’m watching them pretty closely. I’m really excited to play in that offense. Just seeing the playmakers they have at wideout and running back is really exciting and I can’t wait to practice and play with those guys.
Seeing the young guys like JoJo Kemp, Alex Montgomery, Ryan Timmons and Javess Blue doing well is really encouraging. They came to UK thinking they can play right away, and they have. The coaches are saying that after this class that’s playing now, our class (2014) and the 2015 class comes in, we will be able to compete head-to-head with anybody in the conference. It’s gonna be really fun to watch, and you can already see the difference the coaches have made. The players aren’t giving up and are playing a lot harder than they were last year. They have a sense of confidence to them, which is really a testament to Coach Stoops and the staff changing the attitude and the system. They held Teddy Bridgewater, who will probably be the first quarterback drafted this year. The defense rattled him in the first half. Everyone predicted Louisville to blow us out and we were hanging right there for the most part. Little things cost us the game, so it shows how good of a staff Coach Stoops has.
The fact that UK’s lost two games so far isn’t scaring anyone off, either. In fact, it’s the opposite. Watching the games has the commits thinking they can come in and play right away, just like the guys in the 2013 class have. I know Darius West took a visit to another school, but it was with his cousin. He’s obviously a big name and he wanted to help his cousin out. He told me he’s 100% committed, and I could see it at the UofL game. I don’t think anybody’s going anywhere. We’re all 100% committed to UK.
I haven’t done any number crunching, but I think the staff can still add three or four more recruits to the 2014 class. Obviously Elam is high on the list, and I think they’re trying to add another offensive lineman, another wide receiver, and another athlete guy on defense. Dorian Baker is a wideout they’re looking at. He was supposed to visit for the Louisville game but couldn’t make it. They’re also looking at Roger Lewis, a former Ohio State commitment; and Isaiah McKenzie, an athlete who just came on the radar. He’s from Florida and plays offense and defense, but has one of, if not the best highlight tapes I’ve seen in the whole 2014 class. He’s not really rated high at all, but is a playmaker. They’re all guys who can come in and compete right away.
Some of Isaiah McKenzie’s highlights
Just watching the guys out there makes me want to be on the field with them as soon as possible. I feel like I can get the offense moving, be a facilitator in getting the ball to the playmakers, spread the ball around, and hit first downs and third downs. I’m not really used to losing, so I want to bring the winning mentality to Kentucky. This team is a lot better than they were against Western Kentucky. Even when they were losing to Western and Louisville, those guys were still going hard to the end of the whistle and nobody quit. It’s definitely been a really big change since Stoops came in. Before, I think they kind of accepted losing, and now, these coaches refuse to do that, which is how it should be. I hate losing. I hate losing more than I like winning.
Looking ahead, one chance the team might have for an upset is against Florida. Florida’s offense hasn’t looked good at all this year, so if things go our way and we win the turnover battle, I don’t see any reason why we can’t pull off the upset. It’s at Commonwealth, so I think we have a legitimate chance.