SALT LAKE CITY — Utah safety Marquise Blair didn’t have a lot to say in his introductory conference call with the media after being taken in the second round of the NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Although the soft-spoken Blair expressed his gratitude, he politely answered questions with short responses.
No worries. Morgan Scalley, Utah’s defensive coordinator and safeties coach, more than made up for it Friday night. He was quite exuberant about Blair’s situation.
“I’m so fired up for him,” said Scalley, who noted that the Seahawks are getting “a great young man that has a heart of gold.”
Scalley added that Blair has gone through a lot and to overcome it and to be where he’s at is a testament to his grit and fortitude.
“He’s just a good young man and I’m fired up because he’s also a very good football player who is just scratching the surface of what he can do,” Scalley said. “Particularly at the safety spot, where he’s only played it for two years.”
Blair was an All-American outside linebacker at Dodge City Community College in Kansas and converted to safety at Utah. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder from Wooster, Ohio, made 107 tackles over 23 games at Utah and earned second team All-Pac-12 accolades as a senior.
“They’re getting a very aggressive football player that has some of the best instincts I’ve ever coached,” Scalley said. “And you don’t coach that. So I don’t know that you could say I coached it. He just has natural football instincts, knows how to get to the football.”
Scalley added that the Seattle defense is known for being physical and that’s what the Seahawks are getting in Blair.
“Someone that will instill fear in opposing offenses,” said Scalley, who explained that Seattle loved Blair after working him out in Washington and in Salt Lake City prior to the draft. Scalley had multiple conversations with Seahawks coaches and scouts prior to the draft.
“They really saw in him what we saw in him and that’s a huge upside, a ton of potential and a very physical football player that’s a playmaker,” Scalley said.
The Seahawks later added Utah’s leading tackler Cody Barton. The linebacker, who made 116 tackles last season, was taken in the third round (88th overall). He’s excited to remain teammates with Blair.
“That’s going to be awesome, a familiar face up there,” Barton said in a conference call. "It’s something we can go through together as rookies.”
Barton added that he and Blair are pretty close friends and it’ll be a really cool experience going to the same team together.3 comments on this story
“I’m just excited to go there and compete with the team,” said the Brighton High product, who played 50 games over four seasons for Utah (making 23 starts). He finished his collegiate career with 234 tackles (23.5 for loss).
Scalley congratulated Barton via Twitter: "You are the perfect example of respecting the process and it (paid) off tonight!!"
The NFL draft concludes Saturday with rounds 4-7. Several Utah Utes are hoping to get calls. The candidates include punter Mitch Wishnowsky, linebacker Chase Hansen, kicker Matt Gay, offensive lineman Jackson Barton and safety Corrion Ballard.