Mark Stoops has yet to win a game as head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats. However, in the minds of Kentucky fans, Stoops has already assembled a group of victories that no previous UK coach was ever able to accomplish.
On Friday, Stoops added another notch in his belt when four-star quarterback Drew Barker (Conner High School, Hebron, Ky.) committed to the Wildcats, shunning the South Carolina Gamecocks and Steve Spurrier in the process. While this may be seen as Barker picking the “home team”, that’s not necessarily the case.
In fact, Barker had written off Kentucky when the previous coaching staff was in place. That staff had apparently overlooked the fact that Barker had been to a UK camp, which led Barker to look elsewhere. However, when Stoops and his staff came on board, they made Barker a top priority.
The commitment from Barker is just the latest “victory” for Stoops and his staff. Since taking the job in December, Stoops has been trying to change the face and the mentality of the program. He’s doing that by assembling a high-level staff, recruiting at a level never before seen at Kentucky, interacting with the Big Blue Nation, pushing current players to become better and overseeing a total overhaul of the program in Lexington.
Gone are the days when Kentucky was competing against Western Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky and Marshall for recruits. With Stoops at the helm, Kentucky is competing against the likes of the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Georgia Bulldogs and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Barker is seen as a player who could be a star in the offensive system of Neal Brown, Kentucky’s offensive coordinator. Brown has been among the UK staff members working the hardest on getting Barker to Lexington, and it has apparently worked.
While Stoops does not have an official win on his resume just yet, the little victories keep adding up for the new Kentucky head coach.