Future UK Quarterback Drew Barker kept 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:
Laying a Foundation
Keeping the momentum going
Recapping The Elite 11/The Opening
The New Kentucky Football
Football is Finally Here
Bringing the Winning Mentality to UK
“We know these coaches are going to win”
Hey guys. I guess you heard, but my team lost to Anderson County in the playoffs last Friday. It was a tough game. We played them in 2011 in the Regional Championship and they ended up beating us 31-30, so this year, we were still kind of mad about that game and we wanted to come out and win. We got down early by a few touchdowns and it just seemed like nothing was going our way. All year we’ve battled back, and we came back and got the score to 35-34, and on the extra point to tie it up, we decided to run a fake kick and we didn’t get it, so we lost to them by one point again. In my three playoff losses as a starter, I’ve lost by a combined five points–one my sophomore year, three my junior year, and one this year. They were all tough games. Matt Jones came out to the game, so it was good to see him on the sidelines. I know Anderson County has a lot of UK flavor, so there were a lot of UK fans there too, so I definitely want to thank everybody that came out to show their support.
I feel like I’ve definitely improved a lot over this season. Going to all these camps this past summer like the Elite 11 really helped. When I was there, they focused on my footwork, which was good because your accuracy starts in your feet. They also helped me with my drops and the quickness of my drops, which made my pocket presence much better, being able to sit in the pocket a little longer and deliver the throws instead of running out as quick or bailing out as quick. I also thought my release got a lot quicker over last year, when it was a little drawn out. Just from watching Coach Brown’s offense this year and at Texas Tech, those quarterbacks have really fast releases. They might not have the strongest arms, but they have a really quick release. When I went out to the Elite 11, I asked Coach (Trent) Dilfer how I can improve the speed of my release because I knew it would help me in the Air Raid offense. They were hard on me about that, but you could see a big difference between last season through the end of the summer to the end of this season, how much better it’s gotten. I’m getting the ball to the receivers a lot faster. That and my footwork are the two things I’ve really improved on.
With high school football over, I’m not really sure what to do with myself. I’m taking a little break this week, then starting on Monday, I’m going to get back to lifting, running, throwing again and stuff to get ready for UK and the Army All-American Game in January. In high school football, there are two major all-star games: the Under Armour All-American game and the Army All-American game. You know how in basketball they have the McDonalds All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic? The Army All-American game is more like the McDonalds game. I got invited to both of them, but they’re back-to-back on January 3rd and 4th, and in the contract you can only choose one, so I chose the Army All-American Game because I thought it was for a really good cause, and there’s a lot of prestige behind it. I think almost 300 NFL players have played in the Army All-American game, including great players like Tim Tebow, Andrew Luck, Adrian Peterson, guys like that. Also, like I said, the cause is great. We wouldn’t be able to play football if it weren’t for the people serving our country, so that had something to do with it too.
As you know, Matt Elam’s also playing in that game, and I’m still trying to work it out so I can room with him. I called the people in charge of the game about it and they said they’d get back to me, so don’t worry, BBN, I’m on the case! I’m still not wavering at all in my prediction even though I see a lot of people getting nervous. Matt’s 247 Crystal Ball is up to 60% Alabama the last time I checked, but I think back to when I announced, and my Crystal Ball was 81% South Carolina, so those are just guesses. I’m staying strong with my feeling that he’s coming to UK. Like I said in my last diary, he’s definitely living the recruiting thing up and likes being in the spotlight, which is awesome, because he’s not going to have a bigger stage than the one at the game on January 4th. If he chooses Kentucky, it will be huge with all those viewers watching. I think I heard that there were over 2 million people watching it last year, so if had the UK, Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State hats on the table and chose UK, that’d be a sign to every recruit and fan that we’re not playing around anymore. They’ve gotta start taking UK football seriously. We’ve already done that with the class we have now, but it would be an even bigger step if he committed.
I’m sure you’ve seen some of the 2014 class tweeting out pictures of the letters they’re sending in. Technically, it’s not a letter of intent, it’s a financial aid agreement that guarantees the scholarship to the player. It means that the coaches can have unlimited contact, changes some of the recruiting restrictions, and they are permitted to talk about you publicly in the media. I’m planning on sending mine in tonight, and I’m really looking forward to faxing it in. Yes, even though it’s 2013, we have a fax machine, although it’s actually part of our printer. I don’t feel comfortable mailing it in because it will take two to three days, so I’ll fax it in tonight. In fact, I may have already sent it in by the time you read this.
I plan on talking to the coaches tonight after I send my paperwork in. They all sent me messages on Twitter after my game last week, telling me I had a great high school career and they can’t wait for me to get to get down to Lexington. One of the main reasons I chose Kentucky over the other schools was I felt like I had a great connection with all the coaches, and after that loss, it was cool to have every coach on the team send me a message.
It’s crazy that I’ll be at UK in a little over a month. I remember committing like it was yesterday and now it’s actually about to happen. I think it will definitely be kind of weird at first not going back to school with all my classmates, but I’m really looking forward to it and getting down there to work with Coach Korem and the strength staff, who say they have some big plans for me when it comes to weightlifting and diet and stuff. I’m ready to get my body in the best shape possible and be there with all the other guys enrolling early, like Mikel Horton, TV Williams, Nick Richardson, and Thaddeus Snodgrass. We’re looking forward to getting down there and bringing the new swagger with us to Kentucky football. I’m getting really excited.
This is my last entry, so I definitely want to thank everyone for reading. Ever since I committed, all of your support just shows that there’s no better fan base than the Big Blue Nation. I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and tell me they read the diary, so it means a lot. I can’t wait to go out there and represent you on the field.