Woods Cross (Woods Cross, Utah) offensive line coach Tom Moore has coached two NFL players and multiple college athletes during his nearly four decades as a high school football coach. So Moore has an accurate frame of reference when he says that recent Stanford commit Sean Barton has the talent to one day play on Sundays.
"I've coached two kids that have gone on to play in the NFL and (Sean is) just as good as either one of those two," Moore said. "If he applies himself when he gets up to the next level at Stanford, he'll be playing on Sunday one of these days if he applies himself and if he wants to.
"Sean has all the ability that either one of them (former NFL players Daniel Coats and Colby Bockwoldt) had, if not more.
Moore said that Barton's talent was apparent early in his high school career. Barton's athleticism stood out even in the ninth grade on the JV squad.
"Well like I said, I've been coaching for 40 years," Moore said. "When you've been doing it that long you can kind of tell when you get somebody special. And as a ninth grader he was just like that best athlete out on the field. He played quarterback for us as a ninth grader and he had a great arm. If the quarterback we've got now were to go down, I'd almost have to suggest to our head guy that he's probably the guy that we need to put at that position. Hopefully our starter wouldn't go down, but if he did, Sean would be the guy. Matter of fact, the kid that's starting for us now at quarterback, both of them played quarterback in the ninth grade but Sean was the starter. But he's just so valuable at other positions. In our system the quarterback really doesn't run a whole lot and he's just such a good runner offensively."
Indeed, although Barton will likely play defense in college, he's a dynamic two-way player for Woods Cross. Barton's highlight tape depicts him making an impact on offense, defense and special teams.
"He's going to be a defensive standout I think," Moore said. "Depending on what kind of defensive system and scheme they run, he could be a linebacker or a strong safety kind of a guy. Eric Weddle that played for Utah and plays for the San Diego Chargers now, he'd probably be that kind of a player. But offensively he's a heck of a running back. He's a great receiver, catches the ball well. For us he's going to be a running back on offense. He'll be returning kickoffs and punts for us. He's one of those kids where if he touches the ball it could be six. He's just one of those kinds of players."
Moore said that Barton's instincts and intelligence contribute to his defensive prowess.
"Just his instincts for the ball," Moore said. "He just has that knack. We watch quite a bit of film and he watches and he has a pretty good idea of when teams come out in certain formations and certain looks, he watches enough film to where he's going to have a pretty good idea probably within one or two or three plays what they're going to run just from watching film. And shoot, he scored 32 on the ACT. So he's smart. And just his instinct. Some people before the ball's snapped it's like they know where the ball is going, and so I mean that's the way he is."
Moore was also complimentary of Barton's intangible qualities.
"He's a great leader," Moore said. "Every kid on the team really respects him. He hardly ever comes off the field for us. We take him off sometimes just because we have to let him get a breather every now and then. Just the leadership skills. He's not selfish. He cares about the other guys on the team, and again, he just stands out that way as well."
While Barton will likely enter Stanford as a linebacker after his LDS mission trip, Moore said that offense could be in Barton's future if he continues to grow.
"I could see a Stanford down the road saying hey, this kid could be a fantastic tight end," Moore said. "I could see Sean if he got up there (and grew to) 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5, I could see even Stanford or even the pros, just because he has great hands and he'd be that almost prototypical looking tight end. If he doesn't grow a whole lot more I could see him being 230, 240, and he probably will. He might even be 250 or 260 and he may be that size to play the outside linebacker. A lot of things can happen over the next two or three years with his development. I'm sure they're probably tickled that they got him. He's one of those who doesn't come along a whole lot."
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