"They offered him a scholarship on Sunday and he talked to his brother and mom about it, then told Coach (Dan) McCarney he'd be there," said Hornback, a former Division I player himself under Glen Mason at Kansas.
The Cyclone coaching staff has been well known for its ability find hidden talent in other states, but rarely have they uncovered one in their own backyard.
Eboh literally came out of nowhere to join ISU after a tremendous senior year in which he recorded 56 tackles, led his conference with 14 tackles-for-loss, and made five sacks. He earned second-team all-state and first-team all-conference honors. This after an injury riddled junior campaign.
"For Iowa State he will end up being a diamond in the rough-type of kid," Hornback said. "He made so much improvement from his junior to senior year. He had all of the physical capabilities his junior year, but had some injuries here and there and didn't have a great year. The good news is he had a tremendous senior year and a lot of people felt like he was one of the better defensive players in the state.
"Collins is a great example of a kid who earned it his senior year. There is such an emphasis on early offers and getting guys committed, but Collins did it the old fashioned way by having a great senior year and earning a scholarship. That's a great lesson for a lot of guys going into their senior year that haven't gotten the notoriety or publicity. I'm real proud of him."
Eboh will now try to make an example of other Division I programs that either passed on him or didn't do enough scouting this winter. According to Hornback, Northwest Missouri State, Central Missouri State, Winona State and Northern Iowa were the only programs to show serious interest in the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder.
"Collins is really a kid Iowa State found," Hornback said. "A lot of the Division II and I-AA schools that were recruiting him were amazed that he wasn't getting Division I consideration. It speaks a little more to how recruiting works in Collins' case. A real important component of recruiting is having a junior year and building some expectations before your senior year even starts. Because he did not have a great junior year did not have that around him when the year started."
Eboh is someone the Cyclones hope to groom into a future rush end, and Hornback believes he fits into that mold perfectly.
"He's a classic rush defensive end, in that he gets up there in the corner and goes 100 miles an hour," Hornback said. "I talked to opposing coaches throughout the season and they were impressed with Collins' tremendous strength and length of his arms. That's so important for a defensive lineman to get separation, and he's got such long arms that he's able to do that.
"They also were impressed with the level he plays at, or the intensity that he plays with every down. I've never had a kid that practices as hard as he does every day. Our offense didn't block him once all year. He also did that on Friday nights."
Although ISU's courtship of Eboh started in the final full month of the recruiting season, McCarney and his staff were able to impress him during last weekend's official visit.
"He talked about how Coach McCarney met him right when he got out of his car and how impressed he was at that," Hornback said. "It felt like a familiar atmosphere. He didn't feel like he was going there for the first time. He felt real comfortable and good to be there, so he decided to do that.
"One of the things that was real important was that he was able to stay close to his family and his mom would be able to see him play. He's real close to his brother, his mom and uncle. That had a lot to do with it. His mom is sure excited to see him play in college."