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By LARRY VAUGHT
The Barkers were in “unchartered waters” when the recruiting process started. Conner quarterbck Drew Barker sent out Facebook messages to college coaches, recruiting analysts and media members after his freshman year encouraging them to contact him.
“We had never done anything like this. We’ve never had anybody in our family accomplish what Drew has,” Terry Barker, Drew’s father, said. “To have his college paid for and a chance to play at the next level is overwhelming.”
He still remembers when Drew Barker called him to tell him about his first college scholarship offer from Louisville.
“I was so excited I had tears in my eyes,” Terry Barker said. “Then the offers slowly started coming in. It was kind of surreal. I didn’t know enough about how the process work to know that first offer was even a real offer.
“The hardest thing for Ellie (Drew’s mother) and I was to make sure we gave Drew the tools to succeed. He kind of would tell us where he needed to go visit, where he needed to go to camp. We’ve been here to support him. We would get the calendar out as soon as school ended and map out every weekend. We would find camps, fill in the dates and what is was going to cost. We had to budget it all out. But it has been so exciting to see him grow as a person and athlete.”
Terry Barker went to Conner but never expected his son to do the same. He moved to Cleveland as part of a job promotion.
“I bounced around and then we came back to northern Kentucky. I was familiar with the (Conner) area and they were building new homes, so we bought one,” Terry Barker said. “But I thought eventually we would be moving. I was keeping a close eye on the coaching situation. I knew Conner was our school district, but I also knew I could send him to Highlands because of their open enrollment policy. I made some calls over there and inquired about tuition amounts.”
He knew Conner’s overall football program had been “mediocre” even though his senior year Conner went to the state final and lost to Franklin-Simpson and star Joker Phillips. In 1983, Conner won its one state title.
Then fate intervened. Conner hired Dave Trosper, someone Terry Barker had known since high school.
“I thought, ‘This is perfect. We have a good relationship and I like his spread offense.’ I wanted Drew in that offense,” Terry Barker said. “I knew what Dave did would fit Drew and that’s how we ended up at Conner. But it has all worked out better than even I could have ever imagined.”