Horton Hanging Tough In Tough Times

Alonzo Horton comments on his desire to overcome his personal tragedies.

Auburn, Ala.--Freshman Alonzo Horton was suited up in full gear on Saturday on the Auburn sideline. Although he didn't play and is expected to redshirt, the young defensive end who has suffered devastating personal losses this week says being with his teammates is good therapy.

A 2005 signee for the Tigers who grew up in the hard-hit Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Horton's aunt Hattie Wimberly drown there in the Hurricane Katrina disaster as did his two half brothers, six-year-old Delorean and seven-year-old Jerry.

"At first it was real hard," Horton says. "I couldn't do anything. I didn't have the will or the drive to do anything. I didn't want to play football. I couldn't think about football. It was real tough on me, it was real hard.

"Then I realized that no matter what I do, or no matter what I don't do, it is not going to bring back the home that I lost or the family I lost. It is not going to bring back any of those things."

Horton family members have regrouped at a relative's home in Atlanta. The Auburn freshman notes that there are approximately 40 aunts, uncles and cousins staying there along with his mother.

The defensive end is a promising player, according to his position coach, Terry Price.

Horton says it is still undecided how many of his relatives plan to return to New Orleans after city and state officials there allow survivors of the storm to move back. "I am just going to wait it out and see what they want to do," he says.

Horton states he has recovered from his initial depression and is doing his best to concentrate on his academics at Auburn and take care of his football responsibilities. "Like they say in show business, the show must go on," he says. "I have to keep moving forward. I can't stop doing what I want to do."

Alonzo Horton

What the freshman wants to do is earn a college degree and be a football star while doing it. His head coach, Tommy Tuberville, says the AU coaching staff and players will do everything they can to allow Horton to be successful at Auburn.

The freshman says his coaches and teammates could not be more supportive and he is thankful for that.

"I feel like I like lost two little brothers, but as I looked and have seen my teammates embrace me I now have got a whole team of big brothers. They will take care of me like big brothers are supposed to. They will show me the ropes and they will teach me right from wrong. I am grateful to be here on this team."

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