Most expect Lander Barton to step into an immediate role with the Utah defense in 2022.

The former 4-star, top-100 linebacker recruit is one of the highest-rated players to join the Utes in the 247Sports era. He’s a ready-made off-ball linebacker at the college level—athletic, strong, well-aware, and always on the move. Plus, Utah has a need in its linebacking corps with Devin Lloyd and Nephi Sewell moving on from last year’s team.

Barton’s maturity figured to only help him in the pursuit of early playing time, but he’s still a freshman and learning a defense takes time. But with fall camp opening this week, his coaches have seen a big jump in his confidence levels.

“He is a lot more confident,” defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley told reporters on Friday, according to UteZone’s Steve Bartle. “You can tell in how they communicate with others, normally young guys aren’t the ones talking and yelling, but (Barton)’s done a lot of that, he’s much more confident and comfortable.”

Here’s more from the defense following practice: