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Kentucky wins major SEC recruiting battle

Barker chooses the Wildcats over South Carolina and Tennessee. Dave Miller

Print This May 11, 2013, 09:55 AM EST

Mark Stoops immediately energized the Kentucky football fan base upon arrival, and that was reinforced at the team's spring game when more than 50,000 fans showed up one year after attendance was announced at 4,500 for the contest. Keep in mind that in the final two home games of 2012 the Wildcats had a reported combined actual attendance of less than 40,000.

That passion and energy has apparently carried over to the recruiting trail as well for Stoops and Co. as the 'Cats received a commitment from Class of 2014 quarterback Drew Barker on Friday.

The 6-4, 205-pound in-state product from Conner Senior High School (Hebron, KY) chose UK over South Carolina and Tennessee after a late recruiting push by Stoops and his staff. The pocket passer was considered a strong lean toward South Carolina until Joker Phillips was replaced by Stoops, whose staff reportedly sent Barker up to 115 letters in one day.

Barker is a big "get" for Stoops and offensive coordinator Neal Brown, as he is ranked as the No. 5 quarterback prospect nationally in the Class of 2014 by Scout.com. Brown’s scheme is pass-oriented, and Barker's strength is as a dropback passer despite being able to run well.

Barker is expected to graduate in December and plans to come to Lexington in January and participate in spring practice. When he arrives, he would battle four other scholarship quarterbacks, including three sophomores who all played last season: Patrick Towles, Jalen Whitlow and Maxwell Smith.

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