By LARRY VAUGHT
Conner quarterback Drew Barker works out daily before school throwing to receivers. Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown came to watch a January workout and didn’t need long to tell Conner coach David Trosper that Barker was the type of quarterback he liked to have run his offense.
“I think he fits exactly what Neal ran at Texas Tech,” Trosper said. “Neal had been impressed with what he had seen on film already. There’s no doubt he is a player. He rushed for over 1,500 yards and threw for over 2,000 last year. He is a combination type guy that can run and throw. He does a lot of checks at the line.
“We run the spread and he’s very versatile. He probably won’t be quite that way in college. He is not a sprinter, but he runs a 4.7 (second 40-yard dash). He’s 6-4, 215 now and will be 240 or 250 pounds in a few years with the same speed. He is a broad shouldered kid and can cause a lot of problems for defenses.”
Trosper said Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson told him Barker has the “best release he has seen in 21 years of coaching” and Trosper says the “common person” can’t stand 10 yards away from Barker and catch his ball.
“He really peppers it. It comes out of his hand hot. He has that gift,” Trosper said. “He has a tight, compact release. That’s the reason the big dogs like him. He throws a pretty ball.”
Barker had met Brown when he went to Kentucky for an unofficial visit to see a basketball game. Before that, the two had talked on the phone often. Barker was at UK’s first Junior Day and even posted pictures of himself in the Kentucky dressing room wearing UK jerseys.
“We have a good understanding of each other, but it was good to meet coach Brown in person the first time. That’s going to be a big part of my whole college decision. Just the people you will be around is important. He could be coaching me the next four or five years,” Barker said. “It’s big to have a good relationship and really know the guy who will coach you.
“I thought he was genuine and very straight forward. Some guys come off like used car salesmen trying to make their points. He seemed very genuine and tells it like it is. I really liked him.”
Brown is only 32, but Barker says age is no factor.
“That didn’t really even come to my mind. Younger coaches, if anything, tend to have more energy and fire. They can be a little crazy and run around more, and that’s kind of cool,” Barker laughed and said. “I could tell all the coaches at Kentucky were hungry and want to get on the right track and the program turned around.”