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By LARRY VAUGHT
Six months ago Conner quarterback Drew Barker admitted he didn’t see any scenario where he would be coming to Kentucky after being ignored by former UK coach Joker Phillips and his staff.
However, Friday he did verbally commit to Kentucky and the major reason was the “high octane” offense of offensive coordinator Neal Brown.
“Coach Brown came in right away (and recruited me). Two days later (after getting the job) he came to see basketball game, came to see me throw and offered me that night. Coach Brown is just a great guy. I think his offense is going to do really well at Kentucky. We just have to get the playmakers there,” Barker said.
Barker said he did see coach John Calipari’s office on his visit during the Blue-White Game and he talked to UK basketball assistant coach Orlando Antigua. He admitted he grew up a UK basketball fan and was more of a “bandwagon” fan when it came to football depending on who was playing well.
However, he said it “was pretty cool” to know new UK coach Mark Stoops and Brown wanted him the way they did.
“It was kind of cool to stay home and think about after football all the connections you will make in your home state. Life after football and then obviously representing your state will be pretty cool, too,” Barker said.
He said he knew players going to Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee, but that did not impact his decision on picking UK over the other two.
“At the end of day you have to make sure you are going to be happy your whole stay (in college),” Barker said. “Just the whole thing of being in your home state. I was close to going to South Carolina, but I thought about what it would be like (not going to UK) and I looked over and really missed out on that. I think this staff is turning it around competing. The vibe is different.”
Barker said he’ll likely redshirt his freshman year — he does plan to graduate in December and be at UK in January — but that he will compete like he can start.
“The plan is that I will probably redshirt. But I am going to go in there like I am going to start,” Barker said. “I am not going in with the mindset I will redshirt. I will come in and work my butt off. I will start working harder right now. I will go in there and try to win the starting job right away, but if that does not work, I will probably redshirt.”
He’s also going to be busy recruiting others to come with him.
“I have a lot of guys’ numbers on my phone I am going to be hitting up. I am not going to pressure them,” Barker said. “ I had guys do that to me and I did not like it. Do what is best for you, but I think you will look better playing with me. Just what I am going to tell them. No pressure.”