In 2013, it was considered a big loss on the recruiting trail when four-star passer Drew Barker was swayed late and picked home-state Kentucky instead of South Carolina football.
Five years later, and his tumultuous career ended with giving up the sport.
The Louisville Courier Journal reported over the weekend Barker will not pursue a chance to be a graduate transfer next season, but instead stop playing and focus on getting his master’s degree. He’s indicated previously he’d try to transfer to play out his fifth year.
Barker’s time in Lexington was nothing if not tumultuous. After redshirting, he overtook veteran Patrick Towles for the starting spot in the latter half of the 2015 season (Towles left as a graduate transfer for Boston College).
But after coming into 2016 as a starter, his season ended with an injury early in his third game. Stephen Johnson came in and took command of the offense, and Barker threw only seven passes for 49 yards in 2017.
Barker was the No. 116 player in his class in the 247Sports composite rankings and the No. 5 pro-style passer.
That quarterback class was particularly ill-fated for USC. With sights set on Barker, the Gamecocks didn’t offer Oklahoma State all-time leading passer Mason Rudolph or Mr. Football winner Jacob Park, who signed with Georgia and ended up starting at Iowa State before personal struggles forced him to leave the team. He has since announced he will transfer.
USC ended up with Michael Scarnecchia, who has played in three career games and thrown one pass.