Belfry LB/TE Justin Barker has had an interesting road throughout his high school career but is 70% through his senior season now and he just landed his 4th scholarship offer. Culvert -Stockton had already offered a couple of Barker's teammates but yesterday they reach out to one of the most dominating linebackers in the Mountains and extended a scholarship offer. Barker already held offers from Mount St. Joseph, St. Andrews and Wooster College before the offer from Culvert-Stockton came.
Justin Barker started his high school career as a D-Lineman and won a couple state championships playing along side Raquan Horton, Horton may of been the best defensive lineman to ever walk the halls of Belfry High School so Barker had a great mentor. Then Barkers Junior year he transferred to Mingo Central and was a huge piece to a great Mingo Central team, many criticized Barker for his decision but I really think it helped him grow as an individual player. The Miners moved Barker to linebacker and gave him a key roll in a explosive Miner offense when they put him at tight end, at the TE position he got to catch balls from Jeremy Dillon, a player that many consider the best QB to ever play in Mingo County. Barker's dream season came up short of winning a state championship but a couple games into basketball season Barker realized to reach his ultimate goal of playing college football he needed to return home to concentrate on hitting the weight room and getting better over the off-season.
Entering the 2018 Community Trust Pike Count Bowl you could tell Barker's transition back to Pond Creek worked out well for him, the kid looked like a Gladiator in Red & White armor when he took the field. Justin Barker is a physical specimen like no other in the Mountains, the kid looks like he's chiseled out of stone with a set of tree trunks for calf muscles. All of his hard work has really paid off, he is having one of the best seasons of any linebacker in the Mountains. Right now he is setting at #15 on Kentuck's tackle list with 68 tackles on the season, he is averaging 9 tackles a game headed into this weeks matchup with Pike Central. Barker is one of them players that effect the opposition mentally because when this dude hits them they will not want to run his way again, if you look closely opposing receivers shed tears when their coaches tell them to run a route across the middle, they know it's about to be a bad day for them.
On the offensive side of the ball is wear Belfry is really seeing the fruits of Barkers days with Jeremy Dillon, he has already caught a few balls for touchdowns this season in a offense that passes the ball less then 5 times a game. What makes Belfry's rushing attack so great is they already had the best offensive line in 3A but then you add Barker blocking in the run game then the defensive lines might as well mail it in, their not getting in that backfield. One of the opposing coaches Barker played against this season told me that when Barker would get his hands on his D-Lineman that they would buckle up because they was about to go for a ride and get drove 10 yards up field.
Don't think this is the last you have heard of Justin Barker, he will end up with double digit offers before the seasons over. Barker is going to be a huge asset to whatever team he signs with, he is one of them players that is a genuinely good kid and has a deep passion for the game of football. Barker has a great work ethic and will really help a team when it comes to getting players excited about hitting the weight room.