Utah linebacker Cody Barton received the 2019 Pat Tillman Award at an East-West Shrine Game gathering in St, Petersburg, Florida. The accolade is given to a player “who best exemplifies intelligence, sportsmanship, and service,” celebrating a “student-athlete’s achievements and conduct on and off the football field.”
Barton is the second Utah player to receive the award, joining Morgan Scalley (the inaugural winner in 2005).
“The award is a tribute to the late Pat Tillman, a man who demonstrated to a nation that true service is the willingness to sacrifice one’s own dreams, so that others may continue to pursue theirs," Scalley said in an announcement from the Shrine Game. "Cody’s leadership, work ethic, intelligence, and sacrifice are what we hope every player aspires to demonstrate while at the University of Utah."
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham also issued a statement.
“Pat Tillman’s ideals, strength and convictions made him an American hero, so winning this award is a tremendous honor," he said. "Cody has embodied the values associated with the Pat Tillman Award during his career at Utah and we are proud to have him join Morgan Scalley as a Pat Tillman Award winner.”
Barton, who led the Utes with 116 tackles this season, was praised by his coaches at the Shrine Game for being a “true leader who outworked everyone in practices.” They also noted in a press release that Barton had a smile on his face the entire week and understood the true meaning of the game by interacting with patients at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa.10 comments on this story
“I am very grateful to receive this award and to everyone who makes it possible," Barton said. "Pat Tillman was a great leader, a humble man who served others, who stepped away from the spotlight to serve our country. This week was a great experience to reach out to others and touch their lives."
The annual East-West Shrine Game is set for Saturday (1 p.m., NFL Network) at Tropicana Field. Barton’s brother Jackson, an offensive lineman, is also scheduled to play in the game. Utah State receiver Ron’quavion Tarver is also on the West team. Utah kicker Matt Gay is on the East squad.