Trying To Fit In As An Auburn Tiger

Is it time for a new beginning for former prep star Victor Horn?

Auburn, Ala.--It's been a strange and frustrating couple of seasons for Auburn football player Victor Horn. As the AU junior varsity team takes on Georgia Military College Thursday evening, Horn hopes to prove he is good enough to play football for Tommy Tuberville's Tigers.

Horn was rated the No. 6 athlete in the South by Pigskin Preps coming out of Huntsville High in 1999. As a senior, Horn led the Panthers to an undefeated regular season and rushed for 1,312 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Victor Horn

He signed with Auburn out of high school, but after failing to qualify academically he was placed at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia where he played one season. He began the season at running back, but was switched to the defensive secondary after the second game. The six-foot, 231-pounder went on to intercept nine passes that season for Hargrave.

When Horn arrived at Auburn in the fall of 2000, the AU coaches put him at whip where he had a difficult time learning the position and was forced to redshirt. Prior to the 2001 season-opener with Ball State, Horn was trying to break into the lineup at inside linebacker. However, he was making little progress there and the coaches moved him to offense as a wide receiver.

Once the season got cranked up and it was obvious that Horn was not going to get off the scout team this fall, the frustrated redshirt freshman left the team before having second thoughts. After being a no show at several practices, a meeting between Horn, his father and head coach Tommy Tuberville was arranged and the redshirt freshman was given another chance but has been relegated to scout team duty since.

Horn watches the Tigers practice during two-a-days, waiting for his chance.

One of his assignments with the scout team has been to play the role of opposing running backs. In the Thursday evening junior varsity game vs. Georgia Military College that kicks off at 5 p.m., Horn will get to play himself as he shares playing time with walk-ons Don Timmons and Marshall Thornton.

"Victor is a guy we're looking at to help this football team," Coach Tommy Tuberville says. "We've played him at different areas. He played running back in high school, so we're going to give him an opportunity to see what he can do. It will be his day in the sun to see what he can do."

Horn says he will play wherever the coaches need him, but a smile comes to his face when he discusses playing running back again. "Thursday night is a great opportunity to show my talent and to let everybody see what I can do as a running back," Horn says. "This will be a chance for me to show the coaches I can play for Auburn University."

After nearly going home to Huntsville for good in August, Horn says he is glad to be back at where he feels he belongs on the football field. "Whatever position they were going to put me at, I would be fine and luckily they put me at home and that's running back. Now I feel much more comfortable."

Horn's going to feel even more comfortable if he can put up some yardage against a GMC team that is allowing negative 5.3 yards rushing a game. The visitors will be no strangers to Horn, who played against Georgia MIlitary's prep school team when he was at Hargrave. Horn says he has a lot to prove to his opponents who he says he played poorly against. But more importantly for Horn, he also has a lot to prove to the AU coaches. "I want to show that I can hit the holes fast, pick up the blocks, hold on to the ball and know my assignments," he adds. "I haven't played running back in two to two and half years and me playing scout team running back has really helped my skills and helped me get adjusted to where I left off."

Tuberville said early in the week that each of the players who will suit up against GMC have a chance to earn playing time during the final three games of the season. No matter how well Horn plays vs. GMC, he is facing an uphill battle for playing time this fall because the Tigers have four tailbacks ahead of him, including a very impressive freshman named Carnell Williams.

Horn says he knows it is time to impress the Auburn coaches by making a splash against a great junior college defense and a team that is ranked No. 1 nationally.

"I want to do things that separate myself from normal running backs and that is to do outstanding things," Horn says. "I just want to catch an eye or two."

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