Four Star Football Defender Chooses Tigers

Auburn added another commitment for the 2005 football class with the addition of one of the South's top pass rushers.

New Orleans, La.-–Coach Tommy Tuberville's Auburn Tigers added another feather in their caps Monday night when Marion Abramson High defensive end Alonzo Horton announced that he was committed to the Tigers.

"I made my final decision today (Monday) and it's Auburn," the 6-3, 222 Horton tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "Auburn was with me from day one. They were the first school to offer me a scholarship. They stayed with me and stayed in contact with me.

"I love the school. I love the coaches. I love the style of play. It's just a great program. They're going to contend for a title every year and I want to be a part of that."

Alonzo Horton

With offers from some of the nation's top schools including Tennessee, Florida, Nebraska, Michigan State and dozens of others, Horton had his choice of just about anywhere he wanted to go, but in the end he says that Auburn was just the place for him. The nation's 19th-rated defensive end by says several visits to Auburn for camps and games just cemented his choice in his mind.

"It really helped me out a lot because going up there from New Orleans you realize it's more than just football, it's a family up there," Horton says. "Being from such a distance away I'm not going to be thinking about home as much or be as homesick as much as I would be because it's not just about football. Some schools, after practice, you don't see your coaches or talk to your coaches. With Coach Whitt (Joe Whitt) and Coach Price (Terry Price) and Coach Knox (Greg Knox) they try to keep relationships with players off the football field also.

"That's real important because my high school coaches are just like the Auburn coaches," he adds. "They took me under their wings knowing that I was young and I was going to make mistakes. They helped correct the things I did like another father figure so to speak. That's one thing I really liked about Auburn."

After playing both middle linebacker and defensive end as a senior, Horton is expected to play defensive end in college. This season he finished with 125 tackles, 16 sacks, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery for a touchdown and three blocked kicks for a team that was forced to forfeit several games and finished the year 0-10. As a junior he had 106 tackles, 23 sacks, five blocked kicks and two forced fumbles while playing defensive end.

Horton is scheduled to visit Auburn officially the weekend of Jan. 14 and says that's the only trip he's going to take. Unlike a lot of other players Horton says he's glad that recruiting is over and he can concentrate on getting bigger and stronger before next season.

"I go to Auburn in January," he says. "That's it for me. It will be a relief knowing that all the phone calls from the coaches will stop. It feels good because I feel like I've made the right decision. It's my gut feeling and I prayed about it.

"I'm debating on whether I should play basketball or not," he adds. "I really don't want to because I want to keep my weight on. I'm about to go to a level where there's no high school boys, but grown men. I need to use that time to get bigger and stronger. I'm going to a speed and agility camp three times a week to get faster with my 40 time (4.7 seconds) and be a step ahead of the game."

Alonzo Horton is shown at an MSL Combine this past spring.

Horton joins Pelham wide receiver Montez Billings as Auburn's latest public verbal commitments. The others are Aairon Savage, Michael Harness, fellow New Orleans resident Patrick Trahan, Rex Sharpe, Andrew McCain, Ali Sharrief and Oscar Gonzalez.

Recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg of says, "Alonzo is a super athlete with superior speed and quickness from the defensive end spot. He is so quick off the edge and excels at rushing the quarterback. You have to love this kid's motor and hustle as well because he is terrific in backside pursuit."

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