RENTON, Wash. (ABC4 Sports) – At the Seattle Seahawks rookie mini-camp this weekend, there was a Utes mini-reunion.
Former Utah defensive stars Cody Barton and Marquise Blair both got selected by Seattle in the NFL Draft a couple weeks ago, and were thrilled to be able to continue their football careers together.
“He called me,” said Blair, a second round pick by the Seahawks. “It was exciting because me and Cody get along well. So, it’s exciting.”
“Playing with him coming from Utah, I know how he plays,” said Barton, who was taken in the third round. “So being with people I know, it makes it more like home, I guess.”
In fact, there are six former Utes currently affiliated with the Seahawks. In addition to Barton and Blair, offensive linemen Lo Falemaka and Jordan Agasiva participated in this weekend’s mini-camp, as did former Utes quarterback Troy Williams. Former Utes defesnive end Nate Orchard, who originally was drafted by Cleveland in 2015, signed with Seattle during the off-season.
Even though the transition to the NFL will be difficult, Barton and Blair are very comfortable playing on the same defense together.
“He plays very hard and just wants to hit people,” Barton said about Blair. “He doesn’t talk much, but he’s a very mellow cool guy. Then all of a sudden when he puts the helmet on, he’s a wild man and just wants to kill people. But he’s a great player, super smart on the field and has great range.”
“Cody was our leader,” Blair said. “He’s a vocal player. Cody gets everybody lined up.”
The two Utes impressed Seattle head coach Pete Carroll this weekend.
“I thought they played great,” Carroll said. “There is some advantage in that Marquise has played with Cody. You could tell there was a little something there.”
The day after they got drafted, both Blair and Barton went right to work studying the defensive scheme.
“They sent me an iPad,” Barton recalled. “I opened it, looked at it, and was kind of like, ‘what the hell?’ But then I called my linebackers coach and he told me what I should look at, and I started taking tons of notes. It almost feels surreal at first, but then I feel like we’re getting into a groove of things, and everyday is another day full of learning, excitement and a lot of fun.”
“I’m just here to work,” Blair said. “I’m happy they picked me. It changed my life. It’s one of those things that changes your life and I’m happy to be here.”
And the Seahawks are no doubt happy to have these Utes on their team.