"When Auburn played LSU this year, I sat down and prayed," Horton notes. "I said, ‘God, whoever wins this game, that's where I'm going.' I just cut the game off. I didn't even watch replays because I knew God had this plan for me," Horton relates the story.
As Auburn fans will remember for years, quarterback Jason Campbell led a scoring drive at the end of the game at Jordan-Hare Stadium that resulted in a 10-9 Auburn victory over the defending national champion Bayou Bengals. Not long after, Horton publicly committed to Auburn.
That was quite a leap of faith for the 6-3, 225-pound Horton, who resides just down the road from the LSU campus where he starred at defensive end for Abramson High in New Orleans, La.
All Horton did his senior season, despite battling double-teams, was record 125 tackles, 16 sacks, four forced fumbles, three blocked kicks and a fumble recovery.
During this weekend's official visit to Auburn, Horton proved to be a solid commitment to the Tigers with no wavering. He had already visited Nebraska and Michigan State with a visit to Arkansas scheduled next week, a visit he says he doesn't plan to take.
While the Auburn-LSU winner may have been the catalyst for Horton becoming an Auburn Tiger, he had attended camps at Auburn and knew that Auburn is something special. So do other members of his family.
"My grandmother was worried about me leaving for college," he says. "She's very spiritual. She really likes Auburn, my whole family does. That's why I brought 13 or 14 of them with me this weekend," Horton explains.
"With the players we're bringing in, we're going to be winning for a long time. We've got a gold mine here and are building a powerhouse."
Horton definitely plans to be a part of that process.
He asked defensive ends coach Terry Price how important he was to the recruiting class. "Coach Price wrote ‘critical' on the board. He said I can come in and help right way, that they don't recruit players who can't come in and help right away. That really says a lot about how they plan to keep this thing rolling," he says.
Horton has already made strides towards being ready as a true freshman. "I thought when I put on weight it would slow me down," he explains. "When I went to the Nike camp (last summer), I weighed 210. Now, I'm 225. I ran a 4.7 (40) at the Nike Camp. Now, I run a 4.5. I had a 35.6 vertical at the Nike Camp. I had a 37 at the all-star combine."
Horton knows he'll have to get even bigger and stronger to play defensive end in the Southeastern Conference, but he is willing to work to make those gains.
He says he knows it will be worthwhile to play for the Tigers.
"At the Georgia game I went to Tiger Walk," he says. "It blew my mind. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen."
Saturday's Parade of Champions honoring the Tigers' 13-0 season in 2004 was also impressive to Horton. "I didn't even have my name tag on when we walked in front of the trailer (that served as a platform at Toomer's Corner). But the fans knew me, knew who my mom was and who my family was. Everybody had a big smile from ear to ear."