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By LARRY VAUGHT

Former Kentucky quarterback Freddie Maggard says it’s not hard to understand why the verbal commitment Friday from four-star Conner quarterback Drew Barker is so important to Kentucky’s program.

“The significance of the commitment is yet another national recruit that coach Mark Stoops and his staff have been able to keep in Kentucky — first two being (Jason) Hatcher and (Ryan) Timmons (in the 2013 recruiting class,” said Maggard.

Barker had basically been ignored by previous UK coach Joker Phillips and his staff — they didn’t even know he attended a summer camp — yet Stoops and offensive coordinator Neal Brown convinced him during the last five months to pick UK over South Carolina and Tennessee. Both had coaches that had been recruiting Barker much longer than Stoops and Brown.

“From the looks of his recruitment, he seems he wants to play in the SEC, which makes sense.  Second is his family were UK fans going into the recruiting process. Coach Stoops was given more of a chance to catch up based on original loyalty.  Either way, like Hatcher and Timmons, this staff comes in and closes,” Maggard said.

The former UK quarterback thinks Conner’s addition is huge for what it can do for the 2014 recruiting class, which now has verbal commitments from Barker and five Ohio players.

“A successful class usually has a vocal leader within its ranks,” Maggard said. “A nationally known recruit such as Barker can help sell the UK program to his peers. Today, they all talk to each other. Having an influential leader that is totally committed is like having another coach on the road recruiting.”

However, Maggard says fans should be realistic and he worries about the hype that Barker is Kentucky’s best high school quarterback since Tim Couch, a former No. 1 overall NFL draft pick.

“Those are huge shoes to fill.  I do think with this coaching staff, he’ll develop into the best Drew Barker he can be. That should be good enough,” Maggard said.

5 Responses to Former UK QB Freddie Maggard sees Barker’s commitment making huge impact for Kentucky football

  • Darrell says:

    This is really AMAZING how things have changed for KY football in such a short time! It is really exciting to to see what is going on and the names that are coming to UK. This was the best hire. I and the whole state of KY is so excited! Thanks to Mitch for bring Coach Stoops and thanks for Coach Stoops wanting to come! GO BIG BLUE

    We have to start at the bottom but there is only one way to go and the sky is the limit!!!

  • RheaBaker says:

    What is really amazing is how scared & lazy the last staff was as far as getting out & recruiting the best players against the big boy schools. I can’t believe I stood up for the joke & his bunch of morons when most everyone I knew said he should be canned. Live & learn like everyone else. Just look at all of the stupid crap he’s doing @ Florida now. At least he is finally somewhere that he will help UK! Some of his actions have to be steering players away from the gators.

  • David says:

    Agree with you RheaBarker. I have had many conversations with good friends that I share season tickets with up at Common Wealth and I always stuck to my guns that Joker was lazy and content recruiting.

    Brooks is starting to prove to everyone that good 4* ball players can be persuaded to play at UK and now it is just a matter of time that Kentucky is competing with all the SEC football team.

    I am anxious to see who he gets a commitment from next, could it be 5* Lorenzo Carter, I would not be surprised anymore

    This is an exciting time being a UK football fan. Go Big Blue

  • steve from Dayton says:

    Rhea, I am just like you. I am a coach’s guy. I have always been loyal to our coaches. I have liked them all and refused to bad-mouth them. I like what I am seeing here. It looks like this will be different.

    • larryvaught says:

      Steve and Rhea, these coaches are just doing incredible job recruiting. Hard to believe they are doing so well so quickly

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