On a day like Friday, Terry Barker is flooded with memories of his son, Hebron (Ky.) Conner Top100 quarterback Drew Barker growing up.
Mental images, great memories, a lot of laughs.
“He’s just been a perfect kid from day one,” the elder Barker said. “I wish every father could have a kid like Drew Barker. He’s just a blessing. He really is. He’s a great kid. He loves life. He’s dedicated. He just takes care of business. He’s mature beyond his years.
“He was always a good baby. He just grew up one of those kids where everything came easy to him. He was easy to potty train. The first time, he learned it, it was that easy. He’s always been a smooth kid.”
While success on the gridiron came smoothly with a lot of hard work, one thing that didn’t come easy for the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Barker was his college decision.
““It was the toughest the decision I’ve ever had to make and it’s not even close,” Barker said.
Barker said he had his mind “100 percent positive” made up on Wednesday and he announced his verbal on Friday afternoon at his school, choosing in-state Kentucky over his other finalist South Carolina.
“UK is obviously my home-state school,” Barker said. “It’s just awesome the new vibe with the new coaches and everything. I could just sense they’re on the brink of something happening. They’re right there getting all these recruits.”
Barker confirmed with 247Sports that South Carolina led for him as late as last week but the Wildcats were able to turn the tables.
“If I went away to some other school and saw UK doing well it would be like I could’ve been part of that in my home state,” he said. “I like the vibe there and big things are coming.”
Barker made the call surrounded by his family and coaches. The loved ones that watched him dominate youth football all the way up to this past fall, where a strong season earned him a spot in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
“The whole family is proud of Drew because nobody has ever excelled at this level athletically,” the elder Barker said. “Everyone from my parents to my in-laws to Drew’s uncles, everyone is so proud.”
While there has been a lot of joy in Barker’s life, there has also been some heartbreak for the family. One of Barker’s uncles, Todd, was with the family for his decision in spirit.
“I was really close to him,” Barker said. “It was really unexpected. It’s pretty crazy. It still seems like he’s here today. Our family is very close. He had a great influence on me and I’ll never forget him.”
“Drew really looked up to his uncles a lot,” Terry Barker said. “Unfortunately we’re missing one. He’ll be there in spirit and I know he’s looking down on Drew and he’s one of his guardian angels.”
Ranked by the 247Composite as the nation’s No. 7 quarterback and No. 87 prospect overall, Barker threw for 2,072 yards and 22 touchdowns to just seven interceptions as a junior. He also ran for 1,455 yards and 18 scores.
Other programs to offer Barker included Tennessee, Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Miami, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Purdue.
“I told him I want you to choose where you’re going to be happy and do what makes you happy,” Terry Barker said. “This is the most important decision you’re going to make. You’re the one that is going to be there and have to go to class there and be happy for the next four to five years.”
Barker becomes commit No. 6 for Kentucky in the class-of-2014.
Stay tuned to the CatPause/247Sports for more on this developing story.