Posted: 2:39 p.m. Monday, May 6, 2013
By Hank Rippetoe
The big news over the weekend, other than the Kentucky Derby and the fact that Rick Pitino's horse came in seventeenth, was the news that Drew Barker announced his decision date. Coming to every media outlet on Friday, May 10th, will be a deluge of attention regarding Barker's choice. I am reminded of the old American Express commercials where Karl Malden would always ask, "What will you do?" if you leave your Amex card at home. In other words, Barker is UK's American Express card.
One thing is for sure. If Barker chooses South Carolina, he won't be the best quarterback on campus. That title goes to his Heisman Trophy winning coach. There is an upside to that. Barker will be mentored by one of the best in the business. Kentucky has been on the receiving end of Spurrier's genius numerous times at Florida and South Carolina and it hasn't been pretty. For Spurrier, Barker brings a possible return of the "Fun and Gun" offense. Barker is South Carolina's top recruit as evidenced by the fact that Spurrier invited Barker to stand at his side during a spring practice visit. One observer said that had never been done before.
If Barker does choose South Carolina, you can attribute that to two things, in my opinion. First, playing for Spurrier appeals to him. Second, thank the previous staff. You all should have seen the various articles as to how Barker was treated by the Joker Phillips regime. I won't rehash that because the actions of that staff from Joker Phillips to Randy Sanders to Chuck Smith speak for themselves. That behavior is a huge obstacle for Mark Stoops and Neal Brown to overcome.
The effort by the new staff is there. No one can question that. The BBN has also done their part. The decision, however, is Barker's to make. His family, all UK fans, will have their input. But, in the end, Braker will and should make a decision based on his best interest. That may not be the "politically correct" decision, at least in Kentucky.
If he chooses South Carolina, what are UK's options? Contrary to what Rivals says, UK has offered other quarterbacks. If anyone is dumb enough to believe that this staff doesn't have a Plan B, they need to become Louisville fans. Not having someone in the wings would be pretty stupid. The Head Coach's name is Mark Stoops, not Mark Stoopids.
Let's look at the options.
4* D. J. Gillins - When Neal Brown came home to Kentucky from Texas Tech, Gillins was a Red Raider commitment. He de-committed on March 13th, according to 247 Sports. Kentucky offered Gillins on December 12th right after Brown came on board. His recruiters were Brown. Here's his 247 Sports profile. His offer is obviously a conditional offer. For the sophisticated, that means "non-committable." Look for Gillins to either stick with Texas Tech or commit to Arizona should Barker go with UK.
4* DeShone Kizer - You'll have to click on "show all 25 interests" in his 247 Sports profile. Again, Rivals says he has no offer. He was offered on June 20, 2012 by the previous staff. He may be the reason why Randy Sanders and Joker Phillips only showed half-hearted interest in Barker. It "appears" that Kizer no longer interested in UK. He's moved on. Perhaps. He may be UK's third option.
4* Tyler Harris - For UK fans, Harris is probably the least known QB recruit because the UK sites just don't talk about him. According to his 247 Sports profile, he's an Alabama lean. Okay, so why hasn't he committed to Alabama? I know I would if I were in his shoes. The reason is that the Crimson Tide is concentrating on Oklahoma QB David Cornwell and they've also offered California QB Keller Chryst, who will probably wind up at Stanford. Harris is not a high priority for Alabama. Jacob Park (South Carolina) and Deshone Kizer have also been offered. Harris was offered on 3/23/13 by and his recruiter is/was Bradley Dale Paveto. Yesterday, he had an offer. This morning he doesn't, according to 247 Sports. Could this be an indicator? Could Stoops and Brown already know Barker's decision?
KSR announced two weeks ago a preferred walk-on QB from Louisville's Valley HS.
They also created a little buzz yesterday with this announcement.
Another thing to consider is that our three scholarship quarterbacks are all sophomores.
If Barker chooses South Carolina, Karl Malden will ask, "What WILL UK do?" I'd like to read your thoughts.