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OL Kirk Barton (Don't tase me Bro!)

Is Kirk Barton a Fake Buckeye?

  • YES

    Votes: 34 87.2%
  • NO

    Votes: 5 12.8%

  • Total voters


Cognoscente of Omphaloskepsis
Staff member
Per lead in on BN.

Disappointed to see Schafer is losing ground (unless there is an injury - I can't read the article) but encouraged to see this young guy moving up.

It starts with the line.
This is a good thing. Being a UA guy I was rooting for Schafer, but the truth is in the games, when I have been able to watch the line play, (home games), I have seen him being a much more dominant blocker. He actually has knocked some people on their butts!

Barton getting more playing time will not be the answer I don't think, but it should help.
Upvote 0
Kirk Barton (Official thread)



OSU's Barton found solace in football after father's death
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Doug Lesmerises
Plain Dealer Reporter
Columbus- He started running up and down the basement stairs. On the backyard swing set, he'd do pull-ups. Or 14-year-old Kirk Barton would throw on a pair of headphones and run the 2-mile path through the cemetery blocks from his house in Massillon, past the gravestone of his father.

He had never played football before. But he would now.

"I had a lot of frustration, and a lot of anger," Barton said. "And football kind of helped me let it out."

Kirk Barton Sr. never saw his son play football. But in their final photo together, young Kirk is wearing an Ohio State jersey. Nearly every day since that photo was taken, Kirk Barton Jr. has dedicated himself to the game that is part of his father's legacy.

Eight years after the death of his father brought him a new life in Ohio, Barton, 20, is Ohio State's 325-pound starting left tackle, the redshirt sophomore part of an offensive line that dominated Iowa in Saturday's 31-6 victory.

"He's pretty inspiring," said Barton's sister, Kasey, a freshman on a full academic scholarship at Ohio State who eats lunch with her brother every day. "He challenged me to do the best that I could do, too. When my dad passed away, the whole dynamic of our family changed. Before that, my dad solved all the problems. Then we had to depend on each other."

Growing up in Naples, Fla., Barton played basketball and roller hockey and video games and devoured the newspaper sports page, as he had done since first grade.

His father coached him in basketball and Little League, and sports became their common language.

Although Kirk Barton Sr. had played one season of defensive tackle at Ohio University in 1976, on a team captained by current Ohio State offensive coordinator Jim Bollman, he didn't push his son into football.

He left Ohio University after one year, going back to the high school sweetheart he had hitchhiked home to in shoulder-deep snow during a blizzard in 1977. Married two years later, Kirk and Brigette Barton moved to Florida so he could find more construction work, and he eventually built a lucrative landscaping business.

Though they would tailgate at Browns games while visiting family in Ohio over the holidays and talk about the Buckeyes, football wasn't part of their Florida culture. Fearing his son would burn out on the game if he started too young, and living with lingering aches from his playing days, Barton focused on his son's other interests. Kirk and Kasey excelled in the classroom, with Kirk, as part of a state-wide program, eventually earning a college scholarship to a Florida state university while still in middle school. Kasey was on track for the same thing.

Barton imagines that idyllic Florida life likely never would have included football. Then on Valentine's Day in 1996, Kirk Barton Sr. was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare form of cancer that developed in his throat. Radiation and surgery treated the cancer, but also severely damaged Barton's trachea. Brigette Barton said surgeons performed a relatively new procedure, a trachea transplant. But on July 20, 1997, her husband died.

"It was devastating," Brigette Barton said. "Everyday I'd think, 'Here's another day he's not here.' How we got through it, I'll never know. So when these good things happen, I say, 'Thank you.' "

Four months later, she moved her son and daughter to Massillon to be near their extended family. After some encouragement and toughening up from two older cousins - Bryan and John Gliba, who became like brothers to him - Kirk Barton Jr. sat in the football meeting at the start of eighth grade afraid to raise his hand when the coach asked if there was anyone who had never played football before.

"He was pretty sheltered," said Bryan Gliba, who is nine years older than Kirk. "We got him involved in lifting weights and got him more active. And that kind of got him out of that shell of playing video games. It's mind-boggling now, because I used to knock him around and I weigh 165. Now he walks into that stadium and it gives me goose bumps."

Barton started studying the playbook during lunch. He would run, seeing, but never stopping, at his father's grave. The football player inside, who hadn't been given a chance to burn out and was now hungry for this new game, began to emerge.

"Some kids need to be driven by a coach every day, but he never needed that," said Keith Westlake, who coached Barton at Massillon Perry before taking over the program at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, and still talks with Barton every week. "Adversity never leaves us where it found us, and he decided to make the best of his situation."

Barton made himself a Buckeye, earning the jersey he wears in that photo that Brigette Barton will always remember. She knows her husband would love what football has done for his son's life.

"I see these dads screaming for their sons, and I know my husband, he'd be jumping up and down and bragging about him," Brigette Barton said. "He'd be his biggest fan."

But Kirk Barton still wonders. He'll turn 21 in November, and at 6-foot-7 he is four inches taller than his dad. A small part of him will always be that kid in the OSU jersey, whose dad never saw a snap.

"He was always real proud of us," Barton said, "but I wonder how he'd act about something as big as Ohio State football. I'm sure he'd be real proud. But it's one of those things you wish you knew."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

[email protected], 216-999-4748
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