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Seeing them standing next to one another with their helmets on, it is difficult to tell that they are brothers.

Jackson Barton, who was a head taller than every kid in every class he can ever remember, has about five inches and 80 pounds on his younger sibling, Cody.

It's not just the eyes that belie their blood ties. Mikki Kane-Barton knows her sons as well as anyone, and sometimes she has trouble believing the two are related.

"They're totally two different personalities," she said. "It's funny: One's big, one's small. One is laid back, one is very serious. My boys are so different, and sometimes they're very oil and water."

And yet, they share a name on the back of their jerseys. And for the Utah football team, both offer plenty of promise for the future.

In camp this fall, Jackson Barton is still battling for a role at left tackle, where the 6-foot-7 Brighton product has been expected to fulfill the expectations of his four-star recruiting ranking. Cody Barton came in as a less heralded linebacker this summer, but has quickly won respect with his raw physicality and aggressive nature —┬áhe may figure in for playing time as a freshman.

Call it the family legacy: Their dad, Paul, was a baseball player at Utah. Their uncle Mark was a football player. And Kane-Barton, a two-sport star in basketball and volleyball, is among the top athletes who ever graced the Hill.

"Bartons are studs," said a grinning Kyle Whittingham after a recent practice. "There's not a Barton that's a bad athlete. No such thing."

That may be in part because the Barton kids — which includes Utah-committed athlete Dani Barton and 11-year-old Lander Barton (still looking for offers) — don't have a say.

"Paul and I told our kids: 'You have to play sports,'" Kane-Barton said. "We're an active family."

Early on, it was clear that the two eldest boys were Bartons of a different feather. Jackson had a playfulness and relaxed attitude, while Cody was intense, aggressive and serious. Cody was a picky eater while Jackson ate whatever he could get his mitts on.

Even though Jackson has always been bigger and stronger, Cody never shied from picking quarrels most siblings have.

"There was definitely some infighting in the Barton household when those two were growing up," Paul said. "Cody has an ornery side to him. He doesn't shy from confrontation."

They were also very different on the field, where Cody was a little league star. He played quarterback, running back, infield — whatever he picked up, he seemed to excel at. When Jackson started playing football, he was sometimes awkward, his lumbering body less coordinated than his peers. He didn't make the A team at least one year in his age group.

But the boys criss-crossed in parabolic arcs in high school. Jackson finally got a handle on his bulk, and became the centerpiece of Brighton's offensive line, as well as a role player on the Bengals' basketball team. College coaches sent Jackson mountains of mail, and he broke their hearts early when he picked Utah.

The road for Cody was much tougher, and almost hit a dead end. Before his junior year — and Jackson's senior year when Brighton would go on to the 5A title game — he learned he had a fracture in his back. He took lots of time off to recover, and not a lot of college teams were interested in a skinny, potentially injury-prone defensive back.

"Everything flip-flopped when they were in high school," Kane-Barton said. "It was so strange. They never had an opportunity to be great at the same time on the same team."

That turned for Cody entering his senior year, when the Utes offered him a scholarship and he immediately accepted. His discipline was a benefit: He worked out four or five times a week with former Ute John Madsen, and he was fanatical about eating, sometimes even waking up at 3 a.m. to drink a protein shake.

When asked what was hard or drudging about this period, Cody shakes his head.

"No, I loved it all," he said. "I want to get better any way I can."

Cody's wolfish personality manifested on the field as well, where he had 73 tackles and three picks as a senior safety. One of his most dedicated fans was Jackson, who was redshirting his first season at Utah.

"When we're up in the team hotels, I would go with Coach Whitt, or watch it on TV — especially the Bingham game, even though it was raining," Jackson said. "I'm glad he was able to have his own time, and that he had a phenomenal senior year."

Jackson understands what it's like to try to measure up with a brother who stars in the spotlight.

Now the Bartons find themselves on relatively even footing: on the two-deep, but not necessarily in starting roles. Coaches speak positively about their development, and teammates seem to like them.

They're not joined at the hip. The brothers don't room together, and they have different groups of friends. Cody can often be found outdoors, hunting or hiking or camping. Jackson would rather stay at home with a good movie and a snack that Cody would sniff at. And as the offense doesn't often mingle with the defense anyway, the time they spend together on the practice field is often fleeting.

"I think it's good that they have their own separate spaces," said Paul, who has two brothers of his own. "It's probably good that they have a little time on their own. I would hope as they grow up and mature, they'll realize that your brother can be your best friend."

But there are similarities as well: They love going on vacation together. They work out at John Madsen's gym in the offseason together. They shower their youngest brother, Lander, with equal parts sports advice and affection.

They're also both Utah men, growing up cheering for the Utes and wearing red. Now they both play for that team, and they realize how rare and valuable that opportunity is.

"I'm on the same college team as my brother, playing in the Pac-12," Cody said. "It's very cool. How many guys can say that?"

Twitter: @kylegoon —

Jackson and Cody Barton

Offensive lineman Jackson Barton and linebacker Cody Barton are both fighting for playing time:

• Sons of former Utah athletes Paul Barton and Mikki Kane-Barton.

• Both attended Brighton High, playing football and basketball.

• Jackson, a four-star recruit, committed to Utah as a junior. Cody, a three-star prospect, committed as a senior while his stock was rising.