Even for Drew Barker, national signing day at Kentucky was “pretty awesome and pretty cool.”

The Conner quarterback, one of six players in Kentucky’s signing class ranked among the nation’s top 300 recruits, is already enrolled at UK and going through offseason workouts with his new teammates.

Still, for the player who helped coach Mark Stoops put together and keep Kentucky’s top-20 recruiting class intact, he was thrilled that everyone in the class officially signed on Wednesday.

“A lot of people were criticizing the class when a lot of us committed in the summer, and a lot were saying UK would not keep guys and bigger schools would take them,” Barker said. “We all stuck together and no one wavered except one person. That shows a big commitment to the university and I was really proud to see that.”

He said only a couple of players in the signing class took visits after they committed.

“They would say they were 100 percent committed, but if you take visits, I was not so sure. I am glad everybody stuck together,” he said.

Barker knew after a 2-10 season in 2012 that cost Joker Phillips his job at Kentucky and a 2-10 season in Stoops’ first season that it was important for him to help recruiting.

“Kentucky has gone through a rough patch the last few years. If I was coming here, I wanted to bring other top guys with me,” Barker said. “I said when I committed we would have a top-10, top-15 class. It is pretty awesome, and I am excited to play with all these guys.”

Barker, an honor roll student, completed 65.9 percent of his passes during his high school career for 6,264 yards and 62 touchdowns and ran for 3,931 yards and 51 TDs. He threw for 2,671 yards and 34 TDs as a senior.

He admitted he had mixed feelings watching Kentucky struggle last year, even though it was obvious the team needed help.

“I felt part of the team because I had committed and knew guys on the team,” he said. “It was tough to watch. But I know the right coaches are in place here and have the right plan. I think we can really take big strides. (Last year) it was motivating because no one likes losing. I hate losing more than I like winning.”

That feeling is one of many reasons Stoops is glad to have Barker at Kentucky.

“It was very important (to sign him) because Drew is one of the top players in the state along with being a national recruit. It’s very important to get great players from your home state. Not only is he an Elite 11 quarterback, he also has the leadership skills we look for in a quarterback,” Stoops said.

Wide receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass of Springfield, Ohio, another ESPN top-300 recruit and the highest-ranked receiver ever to sign with Kentucky, said he was at Kentucky mainly due to Barker and thought the other four receivers in the signing class felt the same.

“I wanted to come in with a good, smart quarterback, and we got him,” Snodgrass said. “He has a nice touch on his balls and lot of velocity.”

Barker, who picked Kentucky over South Carolina and Tennessee, likes the receivers the Wildcats have added.

“Thaddeus is already here (on campus). He is in that mid-range, not too tall but not too small. You are not going to be able to jam him (at the line). Good speed, good route runner, great hands,” Barker said. “T.V. (Williams) is small, but plays with a chip on his shoulder because of all the talk about how small he is. He is super fast, one of the fastest I have seen, and has great hands.

“I think it is a toss-up between Dorian Baker and Garrett Johnson to who is the most underrated in the country. Dorian is huge and looks ready to play now. Possession receiver. Garrett led south Florida in receiving yards. Other schools tried to come in on him. Blake Bone is 6-5, a big possession receiver. It’s going to be awesome with all of them.”

Barker, who led two touchdown drives in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl last month, wants to be the one throwing the ball to them next season. He’ll be one of five quarterbacks competing in spring practice to see who emerges as No. 1.

“I came here to play. That’s why I came early also to get an opportunity to get workouts, get the playbook. I cam here to play and try to win the job this spring going into the summer,” Barker said.

He even got advice from former Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch, a one-time No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.