Oregon athlete on BYU's radar

BYU coaches have identified and recruited many talented prospects in the state of Oregon. Some of them, like Dallin Leavitt, Brayden Kearsley, and Marcus and Mitch Mathews have come to BYU, while others like Tanner Shipley and Johnny Ragin have chosen to go elsewhere. The staff has now identified another potential prospect.

His name is Bryce Barker, and as a sophomore at Beaverton High School he started at various positions for the varsity football team.

"Last year on offense the coaches put me at quarterback and receiver," said the 6-foot-3-inch, 180-pound Barker. "Then on defense I played free safety, so they kind of kept me at that base of all three positions rather than a variety of positions."

His first career start as a quarterback came against cross-town rival Southridge High School, the former school of BYU receivers Marcus and Mitch Mathews. Although Beaverton lost, the offense ran 72 plays and gained 350 yards of total offense. In comparison, Southridge only ran 36 plays for 161 total yards.

"Yeah, it was on the varsity team and I went in as the starting quarterback when our quarterback got hurt," Barker said. "I was the second-string quarterback but started towards the end of the season after he went down. There was one play that just kind of messed us up and it was one of those fluke plays. That play gave them momentum."

When Beaverton took on Aloha High School, Barker got to see BYU commit Brayden Kearsley in action.

"Yeah, I knew about Kearsley and played against him," said Barker. "I thought he was a monster and he was just tearing apart my line. He's a guy that I would always check to see where he was at all the time. I knew he was committed BYU and he was a stud."

After Beaverton quarterback Kyle Eckrosh returned to the field, Barker still got to contribute on offense. As a receiver, he averaged about 22 yards per catch.

"Once our quarterback was able to come back out and play, our coaches saw that I could contribute at the wide receiver position," said Barker. "They started me the last three or four games as a wide receiver on offense."

While Barker played a few different positions on offense, his full-time position was playing safety. He was a third-team safety selection for the state of Oregon.

"I started the whole entire season at free safety, so that's where I played most of the time last year," Barker said. "I don't know how many tackles I had, but I had two interceptions on the season."

Barker, who is LDS, has caught the attention of BYU's coaching staff.

"I think how BYU discovered me is because Coach Poppinga was here to recruit Evan Colorito," said Barker. "I think that's when he first saw me last year and took notice, but yeah, he was out here to recruit Evan and saw me."

Barker was able to visit BYU briefly this summer.

"I came out for a day when they were having their week-long camp," said Barker. "I was just there for a day but I feel I did pretty good when I was there. It was a lot of fun and there was a lot of competition out there."

During Barker's visit, Coach Howell also took notice of him and pulled him aside to work him out with a few other camp standouts.

"Coach Howell took a bunch of us that he was looking at to the side and worked us out for both sessions," said Barker. "We got to work with him one-on-one and we learned a bunch of new things that I've never even thought about. He kind of coached us with that next-level coaching where he pushed us and had us do a bunch of drills. He worked on our backpedal and reaction to the ball and things like that. It was really good and I learned things that I'll use next season at Beaverton."

His performance that day put him on BYU's recruiting radar

"They said that they really liked what they saw in me and are going to be watching me closely," said Barker. "They told me to keep working hard and keep up the effort, so from what it appeared to me, they're going to be watching me closely next season. I'm hoping to have Coach Poppinga come out and recruit me next year. I want them to come out and look at me more and work towards that next step in getting that offer."

Getting a BYU scholarship offer is a goal that's on the mind of Barker, but now that he's caught the attention of the Cougar coaches, it's a goal he's going to work harder at over the next two seasons.

"BYU is the school my parents went to and is the school everybody encouraged me to go to," said Barker. "I love Coach Howell and he knows what he's talking about. He's the kind of coach that you build that connection with and just want to play for. He's a coach that really knows how to motivate you and that's the type of coach that I'm looking for. I'm just going to work hard over the next few years and try and better my game on both sides of the ball and see what happens."

Barker said he wants to serve a mission, whether directly after high school or after one year of college.

"Yeah, I'm planning on it but I'm not sure when I'll go," he said. "I just haven't thought about a time in which I'll go but I am planning on going."

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