Barker finishes career among the nation’s best

Published 7:01 pm Tuesday, December 3, 2019

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Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker took a knee and watched the final seconds count down in his final game with the Trojans on Friday night.

Barker and the Trojans lost to Appalachian State, giving them a season ending record of 5-7.

When the clock finally hit triple zeroes, it wrapped up an emotional week for the senior quarterback and his fellow senior teammates.

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“When I was asked who was going to cry the most (earlier in the week), I just didn’t want to say me, but it was obviously emotional,” Barker said. “A lot of good things coming to an end, just emotional. I think any time you invest a lot of time and effort into something and it comes to an end, it should mean something to you.”

Barker suffered two knee injuries in high school. Last season, he injured one of his knees for a third time midway through the season, resulting in a season-ending knee surgery. It was the latest chapter in what was a career of ups and downs for the Decatur native.

“It’s been a lot of ups and downs, but very rewarding for me,” Barker said. “I think I grew up a lot. I came in as a boy missing home to getting married. I feel I grew up a whole lot. In the football aspect of it, it’s a huge blessing to be able to do this at this level. I never will take that for granted.”

Barker sat near the top nationally all season long in many different categories as the Trojan signal caller. He finished the season in the top 15 in touchdowns, passing yards and points responsible for.

“It’s been a joy and an honor to coach him,” head coach Chip Lindsey said. “He’s going to be very successful in his next chapter.”

Following the conclusion of the game on Friday night, Barker took a minute to respond when he was asked what was next.

“That’s a great question,” Barker said. “First I’m going to graduate; going to graduate in the spring. After that, hopefully get an opportunity to take this thing further. I feel like I have been through a lot. Until somebody or something happens where I can’t do it any more, I’m going to take it as far as I can. I love the game.”

Barker believes the team is in good hands next season. He expects the Trojans to learn from this year’s mistakes and immediately make improvements.

“A complete 180,” Barker said when he was asked about his expectations on next year’s team. “I trust coach Lindsey. I think the fans should expect it and as a program, we should demand that. I have full trust. These guys are all young and they have grown up a lot. We have a lot of receivers coming back. Gunnar, I think is going to take the reins. Not sure on that, but the boy has been ready to do it.”