By Josh Low, GamecockCentral.com
South Carolina quarterback coach G.A. Mangus made the most of the weekend in Kentucky. He was at the game of 2014 quarterback Drew Barker (Burlington, Ky./Connor) game Friday night before the Gamecock took on Kentucky Saturday night.
Barker finished the game 13-of-18 passing for 88 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 151 yards on 24 carries and another touchdown in a 38-21 win.
"I thought I did well," Barker said about his performance Friday night. "I didn't have much of an opportunity to throw because of the way the defense was playing. They were playing a cover four most of the night. I managed the game well and put us in a position to win."
It meant a lot to Barker that Mangus was there watching the game.
"It was awesome to know that he was standing on the sidelines," Barker said. "It shows the interest they have in me and how much they really want me. It was a great experience. I should talk to him sometime this week more about it."
Mangus is also the recruiter of record for Barker and the two stay in touch quite a bit.
"We talk about once every week for about 20 or 30 minutes each time," Barker said. "We have developed a great relationship. He is a good guy and is upfront with me. He likes to put everything out on the table. He is down to earth. He doesn't have an ego like some coaches do. He is definitely somebody I could see myself playing for."
The 6-foot-3, 204-pounder has only visited Ohio State, Cincinnati, and Louisville for games this season and that was all during the first week of the season.
He had planned on being at South Carolina this weekend for the Georgia game but as previously reported by GamecockCentral.com, will have to wait a few more weeks before visiting South Carolina again.
"I'm pretty sure I'm going to South Carolina for the Tennessee game," Barker said. "My dad is out of the country this week and I didn't want to go without my dad. I wish I was going this weekend because I heard GameDay was going to be down there."
Barker previously visited South Carolina in June, which was when the Gamecocks offered. This time when he comes on campus will be the first time he has talked South Carolina head Steve Spurrier in-person.
"Coach Spurrier has been sending me a lot of hand-written letters," Barker said. "We will have a long discussion when I come up for the Tennessee game. He sent me one letter on Friday telling me good luck in my game. He said they aren't going to offer another 2014 quarterback for a while and that I'm the top prospect they want."
Barker listed several things that he likes about South Carolina in general.
"I really like the offense that they run," Barker said. "It is basically the same thing we run at my high school. They have a lot of designed quarterback runs and spread it out. I also like the coaching staff. They are real genuine and Coach Mangus is great. I watched the game against Missouri and they showed the fans before the game and that place looked crazy. I like a place where the fan base gets behind their team."
Barker had planned on making a decision shortly after his football season ended but he may wait a little longer now.
"I'm not sure yet," Barker said. "I don't know how soon or late I'm going to do it. It will definitely be after my season and definitely before my senior season starts."
He is yet to name a top group of schools and still isn't ready to do so.
"I don't have any," Barker said. "I'm just enjoying the process. I'm blessed to go through it. This happens once in a lifetime."
Through six games this season, Barker has passed for 1,321 yards, 13 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He has also rushed for 726 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.
"I'm never pleased," Barker said about his junior season so far. "There is always room to get better. I am ten times further ahead than where I was last year. My passing game is light years beyond last year. Reading defenses is the big thing I wanted to work on this season and I'm doing that easier. Watching all of that film in the offseason is really paying off for me."
South Carolina, Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Purdue, Western Kentucky, and Louisiana-Lafayette have offered Barker so far. He is also getting interest from Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee, Michigan State, Arkansas and several others.
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