Earlier in the week, the Kentucky Wildcats made one big decision involving quarterbacks. Now, they will need to make another.
On Monday, head coach Mark Stoops announced that Patrick Towles would be the starter for the 2014 season. Towles won the competition to be the starter over Maxwell Smith, Reese Phillips and Drew Barker.
Now, Stoops, along with offensive coordinator Neal Brown, must make another crucial decision. What do they do with the highly-rated Barker?
Barker came to Kentucky after picking the Wildcats over the South Carolina Gamecocks. He was expected to be given a shot at the starting job, and he was, but he ultimately lost the position to Towles. Now, Stoops, Brown and the rest of the staff will need to discuss the true freshman’s options with him.
If Kentucky had its way, Barker would redshirt this season. If he does, he would still have the full four years to compete for the starting job. And, if things don’t go well with Towles this season, Barker could be in the hunt for the job again in the spring.
However, it won’t be that simple. Barker not only chose Kentucky, but he served as the recruiter for many of the Wildcats’ 2014 recruiting class. Those players looked up to him as a leader, and now that he’s not the starting quarterback, how will they react?
Also, Barker was a four-star quarterback in high school, and he drew the interest of many of the nation’s top football programs. How do Stoops and Brown keep him from hearing whispers from other schools that might encourage him to transfer so he can be the starter somewhere else?
Making sure Barker is on board with the plan, as well as laying out his future in detail, will be crucial for the UK staff as they handle their possible quarterback of the future.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.