When it comes to Utah legacy families, one of the more prominent families out there has to be that of the Paul and Mikki Barton family. At 6'6, Paul was a two sport athlete at Utah, playing both quarterback and pitcher, and later went on to have a short career in the MLB minor league system. Mikki, standing 6'0 tall, was also a two sport star at Utah, as she played both basketball and volleyball, and was named the WAC Player of the Year in basketball during the 1993 season. Mikki would later be inducted in to the University of Utah Crimson Club Hall of Fame, capping off an impressive athletic career for the Utes. At the end of their athletic careers, Paul and Mikki started a family, and the Utah Football program sure is thankful they did.
Oldest son, Jackson Barton, was a standout offensive tackle at Brighton High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, and started receiving national recruiting attention in between his sophomore and junior seasons. At 6'7-275 lbs, he has the perfect size to be an elite tackle, and schools started to realize that pretty early on. He picked up early offers from Utah, Utah State, Michigan, Cal and Arizona State, but there wasn't really ever a question as to where he'd end up. Jackson was a Ute through and through, and he committed to the Utes in March of 2012, almost a full two years before his actual Signing Day.
After being committed to Utah for over a year in a half, Barton signed an NLI with Utah and enrolled a semester early, in order to participate in Spring Ball. When you talk about the physical tools that an elite tackle needs to have, Barton has all of them. He has ideal height, weight, arm length, foot quickness and hip bend; and that makes him a perfect candidate to be long term starter at either tackle position. With Barton being rated a 4 start prospect, and inside the Scout Top 300 ranking, expectations were high for Barton, as some fans believed that he had the potential to start as a true freshman. It turns out that those expectations were maybe a tad bit too high.
There's a vast difference between high school football and college football, and that difference is still a bit underestimated by fans at times. Barton went from blocking unknown high school defensive ends, to blocking defensive ends like Nate Orchard, Pita Taumoepenu, Hunter Dimick and others. Although he does have all the physical tools you could possibly want in a tackle, it was discovered that Barton still has a ways to go before he can become a starting tackle in the PAC 12. Barton has developed a great relationship with offensive line coach Jim Harding, and with the help of Coach Harding, Barton will develop the proper technique that is necessary to block the speed rushers, as well as stand his ground against bigger, stronger defensive ends. Although it's not likely that he'll be a starter in 2014, there's no reason to think that he won't make a strong push in 2015, and possibly become a 3-4 year starter.
Prediction: The experience that Barton gained by participating in Spring Ball is invaluable. He got a head start on all his fellow 2014 signees, and the extra time in the program will be a huge benefit for him and the team in the long run. Barton is a great talent, but still has a ways to go, therefore, we expect him to redshirt during the 2014 season.
Incoming Player Projections: Jackson Barton
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