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By LARRY VAUGHT

After taking about one week off after Conner’s playoff loss, quarterback Drew Barker was back at work. One reason was to make sure he not only was ready to enroll at UK in mid-January, but also so he could showcase his skills in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Saturday in San Antonio.

“I had been going all summer and just needed a little break after our season ended,” Barker said. “But I had to get back to what I was doing for the bowl game and then I’ll be home about a week and then off to UK.”

Barker believes enrolling at UK along with four other high school players, including two receivers and one running back, is a huge advantage.

“It gives us an opportunity not only to learn the playbook and learn the system before everybody else, but it gives us a chance to work out with the players and get used to school and college in general,” Barker said. “It’s really a good opportunity for us. We had some other commits that actually wanted to come in early, too, but some high schools have restrictions or how the credits are set up didn’t let them. But I am looking forward to it, especially getting with the strength coaches.”

Barker already knew a lot of the players on the All-American Bowl rosters from elite camps he’s attended.

“I am looking forward to the competition,” Barker said of the game that will be on NBC Saturday. “There are guys I am looking forward to playing with and against and seeing again. It’s great to play with that level of talent. It will give me a taste of what college will be like.”

He says he has no “real concerns” about UK despite the team’s 2-10 record last season in Mark Stoops’ first year.

“Personally, I think I can always get better and I have to keep working to do what I can to help the team,” he said. “I am going out to California to work out this summer and I know I always have to work on my game to make me better.

“In high school I actually sat down and wrote down goals I wanted to achieve. I have not done that yet for Kentucky.”

Barker said basketball was actually his favorite sport growing up — he was also an elite high school basketball player before giving the sport up this season.

“Being a Kentucky kid, I loved basketball from an early age,” Barker said. “But I knew early I probably would not be playing basketball for Kentucky and that kind of bummed me out. I am a retired basketball player now except maybe for the Y or rec leagues. When I was little and playing on the high level AAU circuit, I realized I would not be good enough to play basketball at UK. When I was little, I did think I could play there just like most kids in Kentucky do. But it has worked out well.”

Barker has been instrumental in helping hold UK’s top 20 recruiting class together and expects the class to stay intact until national signing day in February.

“Guys want to get there and play. We all already knew what last season would be like. We didn’t expect five or six wins. That would have been great, but you have to look at the schedule they played. It was one of the toughest in the country,” Barker said. “But I don’t think anybody is wavering. I talk to all of them and will keep doing that even when I am at UK. That’s one thing I won’t quit doing.”

7 Responses to QB Drew Barker looking forward to competition in U.S. Army All-American Bowl Saturday

  • Ira says:

    Glad for a football story. ‘Bout time in my opine.

    Looking forward to seeing what Barker can do live against kids who are all at his level and seeing how Elam plays as well. Reports are saying he plays high on technique, doesn’t get a push all the time, but when he does get off from a block he does have a quickness to him that has surprised people. To me sounds like a DL coach at the next level can take care of him playing high. Hopefully it will be UK.

  • JCC says:

    I am a big time UK fan and have been all my life. I live in Tennessee and that sux for me. The rumor that I am getting from around here is that Elam is going to Alabama. The source is quite reliable and it makes me sick because he is usually about 90% correct when he makes a call on something. I hope he is dead wrong. We need Elam to fill in for the guys we lost in the middle of that “D”

    • Larry Pup says:

      I hope you are wrong about Elam JCC. It ain’t over tell it’s over. Keep the faith. Even for UK to be in the running for Elam with Alabama in the mix is remarkable. Ira, Amen!!! We need more football stories. The well has been sort of dry lately. No news perhaps with good news to come?

  • catman27 says:

    we will get elam! write ir down!

  • Ira says:

    JCC,

    All the crystal ball experts have called it on Elam to Kentucky now. They have backed off on Bama and most if not all have changed their pick to UK. As far as Marcelys Jones OL recruit who has verbaled to OH ST and our staff has been working extremely hard to flip all are still saying he is keeping his commitment. After reading a few things not so sure myself. Think Jones situation plays out after the AA game.

  • Carter says:

    Ira, I am looking forward to the competition also. I wish ESPNU had coverage of the Army like they do the underarmour in Florida.

  • Ira says:

    Carter,

    Far as I know it will be played/shown on NBC on Saturday Jan 4th. Said it in this article as well.

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