FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER!
Former Cal linebacker Michael Barton (bottom left) trailed on the “Hill Mary” pass play from Anu Solomon to Austin Hill in Arizona’s 49-45 thrilling win in 2014. He is joining the Wildcats in 2016 as a graduate transfer (Watch the YouTube video)
[ezcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]
Michael Barton witnessed up close how special it can be to play for the Arizona Wildcats. Very close, a few yards in front of the “Hill Mary” play in 2014 at Arizona Stadium.
Barton, who had a team-high eight tackles for Cal in that game, trailed the play, covering the area where receiver Cayleb Jones ran toward the middle of the field on a post pattern.
Anu Solomon rolled to his right, looked away from Jones, and passed the ball to the back of the end zone where Austin Hill hauled it in. Barton was in plain view of Hill catching the pass. He unstrapped his helmet and walked slowly to the Cal sideline in disbelief.
Arizona not only stung Cal with the last-second victory but also dealt a blow by scoring 36 points in the fourth quarter to rally back. The Golden Bears’ collapse was not indicative of the type of game Barton had, although Nick Wilson busted through one of his tackles on one play.
That’s in the past. Barton is a teammate of Solomon and Wilson now for one season, becoming an instant impact player with how Arizona’s linebacker positions are in major need of help. Barton made the announcement that he is joining Rich Rodriguez’s program earlier today via social media:
Barton becomes the second former California player to transfer to Arizona. Former Bear offensive lineman Freddie Tagaloa, who played as a redshirt junior with Arizona in 2015, will be a senior next season.
Former Arizona offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes, the head coach at Cal, has lost a handful of players to conference rivals in recent years. The most infamous for Dykes was defensive end Brennan Scarlett’s graduate transfer to Stanford last season.
[ezcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]
► Has career totals of 169 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss (-43 yards), 3.5 sacks (-19 yards), three pass breakups and two quarterback hurries.
► Had 25 tackles, one for lost yardage, with an interception last season at California as a redshirt junior.
► Posted his top season as a 2014 sophomore when he played in career-high 12 games including a career-high 10 starts and had a career-high and team-leading total of 80 tackles while also pacing the squad with 7.5 tackles for loss (-16 yards) and 1.5 sacks that were just a half-tackle for loss and half-sack shy of his career-high 8.0 tackles for loss (career-high 26 yards) and 2.0 sacks (career-high 11 yards) as a 2013 redshirt freshman. Honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection by league coaches.
► Had career-high-tying totals of 13 tackles and 1.0 sack (-3 yards) at Stanford in the finale of his 2013 redshirt freshman season.
► Registered career-high totals of 2.0 tackles for loss and 10 tackle for loss yards, as well as a career-high-tying 1.0 sack, eight sack yards and one quarterback hurry as a 2013 freshman against USC.
After the 2013 season, linebacker Johnny Ragin made the move to Oregon.
The intraconference transferring has worked at Arizona State with receiver Devin Lucien moving from UCLA to Tempe last season. He had 66 receptions for 1,074 yards with eight touchdowns.
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.