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 appears comfortably stocked with linebackers on the current roster, but now they've added Peter Kalambayi and Sean Barton, a freakish athlete 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. It's been known throughout the recruiting process that Barton would embark on a two-year Mormon mission following high school graduation, and he recently learned that he'll be spending that time in Benin Cotonou, Africa. 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.