We’re only two and a half hours from Drew Barker’s big announcement. While we wait, let’s take a look at why landed him would be such a big deal for the Cats, starting with the obvious:
1. He’s good
The 4-star QB is ranked the 141st best player in the 2014 class by ESPN; 153rd by Rivals; and 87th by 247. He’s considered the 6th best pro-style QB in the country (Rivals, 7 by ESPN & 247) and is unanimously ranked the top player in the state of Kentucky. Beyond the stats, many think he’s the best quarterback to come from the state in the past twenty years. If he commits, he’ll take UK’s 2014 class from 24th to 18th in Rivals’ rankings. Even more, he’ll be the third-highest rated recruit UK has signed in the Rivals.com era (2002).
2. The Domino Effect
As Nick Roush wrote about the other day, a commitment from Barker may lead to commitments from other top recruits. Several of UK’s top targets have become friends with him and wanting to be his teammate at the college level, with 3-star DT Matt Elam going as far to say Barker’s possible commitment to UK is one reason he likes the Cats. Barker made friends with a lot of the guys UK is chasing at the Spring Game (see picture above), and a commitment from him could start a movement of elite talent to the Bluegrass, including Elam, 4-star WR Derek Kief, 3-star safety Darius West, and 3-star safety Mike Edwards.
3. The “Come be a hero” movement grows
When Mark Stoops took over, he made keeping good in-state talent in the state a priority, starting with Jason Hatcher and Ryan Timmons. His pitch? “Come be a hero.” For years, other top schools (and Louisville) have poached Kentucky’s elite players, and in order for UK to be a contender on the national level, they have to start convincing that talent to stay at home. In addition, the UK football program has a rich tradition of homegrown QBs, going back to Tim Couch and Jared Lorenzen. While fans will love any Cat, there’s something special about having a Kentucky boy calling the plays.
4. He’s the perfect Air Raid quarterback
Why does UK want him so badly? He’s the perfect QB for Neal Brown’s Air Raid offense. In fact, it’s pretty much second nature to him already since Conner plays a very similar system. Barker can pick apart defenses with short, tight passes and has the arm to open it up down the field. Simply put, he may be the next Tim Couch.
5. It would piss Steve Spurrier off
And who doesn’t love that?
Come on down and be a hero, Drew.