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Terry Barker remembers the first time his son, Conner quarterback Drew Barker, went to UK to see new coach Mark Stoops. They walked into the football facilities and Barker’s father said “every coach was standing at the door waiting to greet us.” He said he would never forget that.
“As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression and that really made an impression on me and Drew, too,” Terry Barker said. “I really think there is no reason they can’t win. They’ve got everything behind them. They are putting money into facilties. It’s just a great place. I really believe they can turn it around.”
Of course, Tennessee coach Butch Jones, who was recruiting Barker when he was head coach at Cincinnati, believes he can turn that program around. Steve Spurrier already has South Carolina competing for Southeastern Conference titles.
“You build relationships with coaches and visit schools. It’s all been great,” Terry Barker said.
He rattled off Spurrier and quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus at South Carolina along with Jones. He even noted how Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson as having a “great relationship” with his son even though Louisville is not in his final three.
“Coach Watson is a great guy, great coach. He still calls to talk to him about life in general and is somebody Drew respects because he is just a nice human being,” Terry Barker said. “That’s the hard part of forming relationships.
“At the end of the day, you have to make decisions and disappoint some people. Drew doesn’t like to disappoint people. He takes pride in pleasing people and making people happy. It goes against his grain a little bit to disappoint some folks. He likes to please whether it is myself, his mother, his cousin, his coach or whoever. He really likes to meet expectations. It’s going to be hard for him (to tell coaches no) and it is weighing on him, but he’s ready to make a decision.”
Former UK fullback Andy Murray is ready for it to be Kentucky and continue the momentum Stoops has built for what Murray and other former Wildcats hope will eventually lead to a SEC championship.
“The only thing that I would tell you about Barker is … the guys that arrive home from Atlanta (from the SEC championship game) with the (SEC) crown some day will have a bigger parade than any of our eight NCAA (basketball) crowns combined,” Murray said.