A.J. Barker, a junior walk-on who had become the University of Minnesota's leading wide receiver, announced that he is quitting the Gophers on Twitter -- and took several shots at head coach Jerry Kill on the way out:
Thank you for that last bit of motivation I needed to put myself over the top. Thank you for showing me your true colors; that you will stop at nothing to prove you have control over me. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to play on your team. Thank you for “loving” me. Thank you for proving that with hard work and persistence people can go very far, even if they are less qualified/talented than their competition. Thank you for not giving me a scholarship. Thank you for providing me with an additional perspective of how to coach a college football team.
Now, in honor of my family and myself I’m done with you for good. In light of that pathetic, manipulative display of rage and love you put on this past Thursday, I have come to the decision, with the guidance of my parents and my closest friends, that my time on this team has come to an end. It kills me that I have to do this before the season’s over, but this is the only way I can protect myself against the manipulation and abuse I’d have to endure from you the rest of this season.
Barker goes on at length to criticize Kill and Minnesota's role in not diagnosing what he claims an eventual MRI revealed to be a torn ATL and bone bruise above the heel.
Barker had 30 receptions and seven touchdowns before missing three games following an upper ankle injury suffered against Purdue on Oct. 27.
Kill had publicly held back on awarding Barker a scholarship
until one came available.