Drew Barker committing to the University of Kentucky is huge news. You can mix the words up or package them however you’d like, calling him a “huge get” or a “recruiting class building block” or the “next Tim Couch.” Barker is projected as the 6th best quarterback in the class of 2014. South Carolina wanted him. Tennessee wanted him. Ohio State came to the party late, but the Buckeyes clamored for him too. The longer Barker’s recruitment played out, the bigger the schools were that started glancing in Barker’s direction.
The rankings and the numbers all tell us that Drew Barker has the potential to be a big time player for the University of Kentucky. Long before Barker ever takes a snap in the blue and white, his impact will likely be felt in the waves of the recruiting aftermath of his decision. Anytime a big time quarterback signs on in a particular recruiting class, especially when it happens early, the probability of landing other offensive weapons and strong players only improves.
Beating out the likes of South Carolina and the Ol’ Ball Coach, Tennessee and even the big named late arrivals to the recruiting process made for a big day for Kentucky football. Stoops not only went toe to toe and won against one of the SEC’s big time coaches, but Stoops also won by virtue of a major come-from-behind victory. Joker Phillips’ staff put Kentucky deep in the hole with one of the state’s best prospects. A kid from Kentucky felt shunned and disrespected by the former staff. Barker was almost turned off of Kentucky completely. The Wildcats were not only off of his radar, but the taste left in his mouth made Stoops’ staff have to work that much harder just to get back to holding serve.
The Kentucky staff met the challenge head on with Barker and not only got Kentucky back into his good graces, but managed to swipe him from South Carolina. Ask anyone. Barker was South Carolina’s to lose, and Kentucky had a ton of ground to make up. Once again, this Kentucky staff found a way to turn a “no way you can do this here” situation into a “we just did it here, and we’re not done yet” situation.
It’s a great day to be a Kentucky Wildcat. But you know what’s even more telling than that…what is more telling than simply today’s big news? It has been a good day to be a Kentucky Wildcat every single day since Mark Stoops arrived in Lexington. Chew on that for a moment. Stoops has managed to not only build momentum for this dormant football program, but he’s also found a way to maintain, sustain and even deepen the momentum over the course of the last few months. From the press conference, to the assistant coaching hires, to the renovation plans, to the already beefed up recruiting, to the season ticket sales increase, to the rabid fan support and daunting numbers at the spring game, to the relationship building with donors, to Drew Barker’s commitment today. Stoops hasn’t lost a major recruiting battle over a must-have recruit or a big-time in-state player yet either. Ryan Timmons? Check. Jason Hatcher? Check. Drew Barker? Check.
Every step Mark Stoops has taken since arriving in Lexington has been positive and in the right direction. Today was no different, and perhaps that is part of why today’s victory is so huge. The Mark Stoops train just keeps on rolling.
It’s a great day to be a Kentucky Wildcat. I have a feeling we might be saying that for a while.