Barker Soaks in Wisconsin

It wasn't the best environment to throw the football, but Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson carved up the Penn State secondary to lead Wisconsin to victory. In the stands was Kentucky sophomore prep quarterback Drew Barker, who was simply impressed by everything the Badgers had to offer.

MADISON - Former wide receiver coach Henry Mason may have been forced to retire due to medical reasons, but that's not to say the long time Wisconsin assistant has lost his eye for talent.

Mason was one of the people that got in contact with the high school coach of Conner (KY) High quarterback Drew Barker after the sophomore quarterback led his team to the playoffs by throwing for 1,280 yards and eight touchdowns and rushing for 1,434 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Barker was intrigued when mail starting arriving from Wisconsin, a school he not only hadn't been to but new virtually nothing about them other than watching UW's two primetime road losses this season.

"I hadn't followed them until this year and the visit really opened my eyes to see what football was like outside of where I am from," Barker told Badger Nation. "I really enjoyed it. I really liked Wisconsin. It was a great victory, the crowd was awesome and I couldn't have asked for a better visit."

With the University of Kentucky just an hour down the road, Barker has spent time looking into the Wildcats football program, even camping at Lexington last summer. Although he lives in SEC country, the visit to Madison was a true eye opener.

"I went to Kentucky and I thought their atmosphere was pretty good but when I went to Wisconsin, I was like ‘wow,'" Barker said. "It gave me the wow factor because the fans are crazy with a huge student section. That Jump Around thing before the fourth quarter was nuts. They were in it the whole time.

"The campus was great. It was really big and I liked it. I liked how they are starting to build some new stuff. They are going to get some brand new facilities in 2013. They showed us a power point and I think it will be really good."

Barker also got an opportunity to go into the locker room after the game, talked to offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, defensive line coach Charlie Partridge and Coach Bret Bielema and got a chance to meet UW senior quarterback Russell Wilson to cap the visit.

"Coach Chryst just told me to enjoy my high school career and not get caught up in the recruiting process," said Barker, as the UW coaches invited him up to one of their summer camps. "Don't get stressed out and enjoy high school because you only go through it once."

Like Wilson, Barker has the ability to make plays with his feet and with his arm. Running a spread-read option, Barker has the option offensively to either run the called play or change it at the line of scrimmage, a big responsibility that the sophomore quarterback excelled in.

"The first couple games on varsity the speed was a lot different, but I adjusted to it," Barker said. "I settled down, made my reads and stuff, and that helped my passing game. By the end of the year, I was full throttle on my passing game and had a great year."

In addition to Wisconsin and Kentucky, Barker has camped at Louisville, an elite camp in Oklahoma and the National Underclassmen Combines. Barker plans to take more visits and set his camp schedule after he finishes his high school basketball season.

Wisconsin's 2014 recruiting class is expected to be in the mid 20s.

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