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The Drew Barker Diary: Bringing the Winning Mentality to UK


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:

Laying a Foundation
Keeping the momentum going
Recapping The Elite 11/The Opening
The New Kentucky Football
Football is Finally Here

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.

Hanging out after the game with Andrew Way, my dad, and Coach Stoops!

Hanging out after the game with Andrew Way, my dad, and Coach Stoops!

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.

Article written by Drew Barker

18 Comments for The Drew Barker Diary: Bringing the Winning Mentality to UK

  1. Shawn
    8:33 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    As soon as McKenzie gets his academics In order and gets the go from admissions….he Is going to Notre Dame. ND has been his favorite for a long time now but hes had to put off his commitment twice because of academic qualifications. He wasnt rated higher because he plays on a team full of Sr. studs and underclassmen that will fill the ranks of scouting sites for years to come. His size Is also a concern as he Is only 5’8″ and while he Is built he Is relatively thin. Kid will be a game changer on special teams for first couple years and then one of the best slot receivers In the game beyond that. He has moves on top of moves.

  2. Terry Blue
    8:37 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Drew, first of all my sympathies to you and your family over the loss of your Grandmother. We all thank you again for being a great Ambassador for the BBN and also sharing your thoughts with us. One question:Is Braxton Berrios still in the mix for us at receiver. I read he wanted to go to the UL game but couldn’t make the arrangements:Thanks

  3. Blue Elvis
    9:22 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Good stuff man. Sorry to hear about your loss. Good luck in the next stretch of games and keep it coming.

  4. lesigh
    9:25 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Great write up, Drew! We’re looking forward to seeing you in blue.

  5. Jaxalum
    9:26 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Sorry to hear about your grandmother. Good exciting post Drew. Looking forward to seeing you on the field in Commonwealth!

  6. Randall
    9:26 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Great work Drew, and good luck on the season! Looking forward to seeing you on the field next year!

  7. NostraDanis
    9:28 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    “I hate losing more than I like winning”
    I love that!

  8. KY Proud
    9:31 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Love this kid! He will be a game changer for the Cats.

  9. Blue Elvis
    9:41 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Mckenzie playing on a team that has produced two 5 star running backs in consecutive years hasn’t hurt his marketability.

  10. Season Never Ends
    9:41 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Drew, you’ve got my vote for KSR Blogger of the Year lol. Condolences to your family on the loss of your grandma.

  11. jpg
    9:47 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Thanks for the write up, Drew! There is no better ambassador for UK football.

  12. goUKats
    10:22 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Can’t wait for Drew Barker to enroll at UK.This youngman along with his fellow commits are going to play a significant role in getting UK to a higher level.

  13. Steve Fitts
    10:37 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    It will be a fun quarterback competition next year with Barker vying with Smith, Whitlow, and the others.

  14. Andy
    11:17 pm September 17, 2013 Permalink

    Can’t wait to have you here with all the other recruits. I know you guys can win and win big in Neal;s system. Thank you for all your support.

  15. Blue Blooded
    2:56 am September 18, 2013 Permalink

    Berrios is going to Oregon & good riddance. If he isn’t man enough to play in Lex then we’re better off. And I know everyone was proud of the D & I thought they did a decent job, but they still gave up 500 yards to the TARDS! What will Bama do?!!! Wish Barker & them we’re already here because we suck again!

  16. Jeremy
    7:53 am September 18, 2013 Permalink

    I can’t wait until this kid gets out on the field!

    How can you not love this guy? He is helping Stoops recruit the best here and BBN is so blessed to have him!

    Let’s GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  17. Terry Blue
    9:03 am September 18, 2013 Permalink

    Sorry, guess I didn’t get the memo that Honeynut had committed to Oregon

    9:23 am September 18, 2013 Permalink

    Need to make sure we keep Braxton Berrios on the list as well. He would be a HUGH addition to this class. Went to see him play on Friday and he only had 4 TD’s and 189 rushing yards…..and din’t play the 4th Q. He punted, caught punts, caught kickoffs, held for the kicker, played safety, played QB and I swear I saw the keys to the bus in his pocket…………….He can do everything.