SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Not one, but two Utes defenders are headed to the Seattle Seahawks.
Marquise Blair became the first local player selected in the 2019 NFL Draft when he was taken in the second round by the Seattle Seahawks with the 47th overall pick.
Then in the third round, Seattle took linebacker Cody Barton with the 88th pick, marking the first time since 2006 that two Utah teammates were drafted by the same team, when Quinton Ganther and Spencer Toone were both drafted by Tennessee.
“That’s going to be awesome, to have a familiar face up there,” Barton said in a conference call.
Blair burst onto the scene at Utah in 2017 after earning first-team NJCAA All-America and first-team all-region as a sophomore at Dodge City CC.
In his first season, Blair racked up 48 tackles in just nine games (5.3 per game) before suffering a season-ending injury. He put up a season-high 10 tackles (2.0 TFL) against Oregon and scored a touchdown on an 18-yard fumble recovery return against USC.
He made the second-team All-Pac-12 team as a senior when he came back to play in all 14 games with 12 starts, while splitting his time between free and strong safety.
Blair, who is known for his ground-rattling hits, recorded 59 tackles, including two for loss of yards, and had two interceptions in 2019. He wrapped up his senior year with a season-best nine tackles and an interception against Northwestern in the Holiday Bowl.
“We like him attacking the line of scrimmage,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said. “It’s his toughness that we really are excited about.”
Barton, a former Brighton High star, played in 50 games with 23 starts over four seasons. In his career, the Salt Lake City native racked up 234 tackles that included 23.5 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks.
As a senior in 2018, Barton earned Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention after leading Utah with 116 total tackles. He started all 14 games at middle linebacker, finishing 10thin the Pac-12 in tackles per game (8.3) and 11thin tackles for loss (10.5).
In 2017, Barton was a spark for the Utah defense, playing in all 13 games with four starts, and recording 45 tackles. He finished second on the team in sacks with 4.0 and tied for the Pac-12 lead with three fumble recoveries.
After playing on mostly special teams as a freshman in 2015, he broke onto the scene in 2016 as a sophomore, finishing second on the team with 66 tackles despite missing two games with an injury. His 66 total tackles included a huge game against Oregon where he finished with 20 tackles, the most in a game by a Ute since 1991.
“Cody is a versatile, athletic and instinctive linebacker that can play all three spots for us and excel on special teams,” Seahawks scout Tyler Ramsey said. “He’s a leader, he gives high effort and he comes from a very athletic family. This kid loves football and everything about competing.”
Blair and Barton will join another local player on the Seahawks defense, former Utah State star Bobby Wagner, who has developed into one of the best linebackers in the NFL.