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Conner grad Barker looking to get back in mix to be UK starting quarterback

FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2016, file photo, Kentucky quarterback Drew Barker, a Conner High School graduate, has the ball stripped by Southern Mississippi defensive lineman Dylan Bradley, resulting in a turnover in the second half of an NCAA college football game, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/David Stephenson, File)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A year ago at this time the football future for University of Kentucky quarterback Drew Barker seemed extremely bright. But a back injury began to bother the Conner High School grad before the 2016 season even started and then quickly flared up when the competition began. That knocked him out of action after three games and has him fighting this season to regain his starting spot.

Barker threw four touchdown passes in the first half of the 2016 opener against Southern Miss, but UK frittered away a 28-3 lead and eventually lost 44-35.

Barker started the following game against Florida, but struggled badly in a 45-7 loss.

He started the next game against New Mexico State, too, but was knocked out of the game early while throwing a pick six and the Wildcats rallied behind backup quarterback Stephen Johnson to win 62-42.

UK went 6-3 the rest of the way with Johnson at the helm and earned the program's first bowl bid since the 2010 season.

Johnson entered camp this summer as the starter with Barker, who is now a junior, trying to earn his way back into the starting lineup and Gary Moyers of CBSSports.com/247Sports has details of the progress he's made both physically and mentally since rehabbing from back surgery.

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