Any discussion of 2013 recruits comes with the understanding that even those players who have committed to the Cardinal could change their minds or fail to gain admission to the University. Nothing is official until national signing day on February 6, 2013, so recruiting news should be read through that filter. It's an inexact science, but it's simply too much fun to ignore.
When David Shaw and his coaching staff signed six elite offensive linemen last February, beneath the overwhelming chorus of approval was an undercurrent of quiet concern: How, some wondered, would all these players coexist? It's beginning to look like a similar question might apply to the Class of 2013, this time in reference to the linebackers.
Stanford already appeared comfortably stocked with linebackers in this upcoming class with three of the best prospects in America already committed (Isaac Savai'inaea, Doug Randolph, and Peter Kalambayi), but on Sunday afternoon they learned of the commitments of a fourth, Sean Barton, from Woods Cross High School in Utah.
Barton measures out at 6'3" and 225 pounds with an impressive 4.48 forty time, and it's that speed that likely precipitated his move from linebacker to safety last season. When he suits up for the Cardinal, however, it will be at linebacker. Because of this position change, his ratings are a bit murky. Rivals.com measures him as a safety, and gives him four stars as the 22nd-ranked safety in the nation. Scout.com, however, correctly projects him as a linebacker, but gives him just three stars as their 48th-ranked outside linebacker.
Regardless of all that, Barton's commitment is significant. He fielded scholarship offers from Boise State and BYU, as well as PAC-12 schools Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Oregon State, Utah, and Washington.
You'll have to wait a while before seeing Barton in Cardinal and White, however. The word is that he'll embark on a two-year Mormon mission following high school graduation, so he won't set foot on the Stanford campus until the fall of 2015. There are two reasons why this is a good thing. First, Stanford has a limited number of scholarships this year, but Barton will technically be a part of the recruiting Class of 2015, allowing the Cardinal staff to bring in an extra player this year. Second, he'll be twenty-three years old when he's a junior, a fact that will bring with it an advantage in size, strength, maturity, and leadership. All of those are good qualities to have in a linebacker.
By the time Barton arrives, he will be stepping into a legacy that will include Thomas Keiser, Chase Thomas, Shayne Skov, Jarek Lancaster, James Vaughters, and Noor Davis. As he drives up Palm Drive he won't only be enrolling at Stanford University, he'll be coming to Linebacker U.