- Dave Hooker, Reporter, RecruitingNation
Kentucky's newly hired coach, Mark Stoops, has a built-in advantage as he builds his team and, particularly, his offense for the future.
A little more than an hour drive away from Lexington resides ESPN Watch List quarterback Drew Barker. The junior from Hebron (Ky.) Conner is expected to be rated one of the top quarterbacks in the Southeast, if not the nation.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound prospect already has a handful of scholarship offers. The most notables are from South Carolina and Louisville.
Stoops, however, will have a reclamation project on his hands to recruit Barker. Evidently, Kentucky's previous staff under former head coach Joker Phillips didn't see much need in recruiting the pocket passer.
"They weren't recruiting me at all," Barker said Tuesday after news of Stoops hire had become public.
Both sides will need to get to know each other better.
"I don't know much about him honestly," Barker said about Stoops, who was formerly Florida State's defensive coordinator.
Barker already has options and should have more soon. Ohio State has also shown strong interest. Buckeyes coaches are set to visit him later this month. Barker visited Columbus for the Ohio State-Michigan game last week.
But it's still early in Barker's recruitment. An in-state school surrounded by the excitement of a new direction could certainly climb in the race. When asked if he would consider the Wildcats under a new staff, he said, "I'd have to meet them."
Name recognition might help Kentucky recruit some prospects. Barker? Not so much.
"Is he related to Bob?" Barker asked.
In fact, Stoops is the younger brother of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops. Clearly, Kentucky has some work to do to get in the race for one of the top prospects in the Commonwealth.