Barker’s strong play has him in elite company

Published 6:03 pm Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Fresh off an injury that cost him the second half of last season, Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker’s return to action has put him with some elite company.

Barker sits in the top 10 nationally in passing touchdowns, passing yards, passing yards per game and total points responsible for.

“I just think for him, he’s become more and more comfortable,” head coach Chip Lindsey said. “You can see him playing with a lot of confidence. He has a really good understanding of what we’re trying to do.”

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Baker threw six touchdown passes in Troy’s win over Texas State on Saturday. Barker has now thrown 30 touchdown passes, good enough for fifth most in the country behind Washington State’s Anthony Gordon (39), LSU’s Joe Burrow (38), Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa (33) and Ohio State’s Justin Fields (31).

Barker is averaging 316 yards per game, good enough for fifth most, better than Jalen Hurts and Tagovailoa.

“Obviously, I’m very honored and privileged to do what I do and be where I’m at,” Barker said. “I don’t have a choice but to put all the accolades and things aside and give my guys credit.”

Last season wasn’t the first time the senior quarterback was hampered by a knee injury. Barker has had a total of three surgeries on his knee. Being on a list with top quarterbacks in the country makes all the hard work along the way worth it.

“Obviously, I’m happy and honored,” Barker said. “It’s been a long time coming for me. A lot of tough things along the way made it really hard, and it makes it even better for me. A lot of things I’ve had to work through and battle. It’s been relentless for me, just the effort and a lot of days spent either on crutches or rehabbing. It makes it all worth it to be a part of the lists I’m on.”

Despite all the success on the field, offensive coordinator Ryan Pugh there is room for Barker to get even better.

“His production on the field has suggested how good he has been this season for us,” Pugh said. “I think if you ask him, for most good players, it’s not about the plays you have made, it’s the plays you have left out there. I think if you ask Kaleb, yeah, he’s had a great season, but I think he would tell you, even by his standards, there is still more out there for him. I think that is what is so much fun coaching guys like him.”