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Linebacker Sean Barton (27) of the Stanford Cardinal runs off the field with a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter of the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Eugene, Oregon. Stanford won the game in overtime 38-31. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
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Sean Barton: Stanford’s ‘Utah Man’

Linebacker Sean Barton (27) of the Stanford Cardinal runs off the field with a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter of the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Eugene, Oregon. Stanford won the game in overtime 38-31. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

PALO ALTO, Calif. – For Stanford senior linebacker Sean Barton it would have been a dream come true to attend the University of Utah.

“It’s a family affair for me with Utah. I grew up a huge Utah fan. All my friends, all my family, cousins, everybody went to Utah. Both my parents went to Utah, my grandparents, I mean like everybody. Season ticket holders, everything. I didn’t miss a home game until I was in high school. So that would have meant a lot to me to go and play there.”

But alas, as Barton puts it, “It didn’t happen”.

Cardinal vs. Crimson

While it was a little disappointing at first for his family and friends, Barton says they’ve come around and are very supportive of his being at Stanford. He’s expecting a large cheering section for Saturday’s game against the Utes.

“They’ll be wearing the right color of red,” said Barton.

While he has tremendous respect for Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham, praising the Utes’ physicality and readiness for the game, he also remarked, “I’m excited to go out there and play against them. Hopefully prove them wrong.”

Barton’s Recruitment

On how out-of-state landed the former Woods Cross star, Barton said it had a lot to do with the strong Utah presence that Stanford already had.

“I think the thing that Stanford has for Utah players is there’s already a group of Utah players,” explained Barton. “Family is a big thing in Utah and being able to come out to California and have people that you know, you’ve interacted with, that you share a similar kind of story with, whether it’s an LDS guy or not an LDS guy, it’s important.”

Specifically, Barton remembers meeting with then Stanford safety Dallas Lloyd, a former Pleasant Grove star who also had served a mission before coming to Stanford. For Barton, who went on to serve a mission in Benin, that sealed the deal in addition to Stanford being Stanford.

“It’s impossible to say no to Stanford. I made the right choice,” said Barton.

Utah and No. 14 Stanford will face off Saturday at 8:30 p.m. at Stanford Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.