Tyler Horn knows what it takes to win and he hopes to bring it to the table next season as the team's starting center. Horn was a three-year starter at the University School in Memphis, Tennessee; a program that won back-to-back state championships. Horn believes he brings to the table what Shannon is looking for and believes that he – along with the entire freshman class – knows what it takes to be elite.
"What I like about our (freshman) class is that every single one of us is accountable," Horn said. "None of us have a problem going out of your way for each other, which is what you need to be a very good team. You have to be able to go the extra mile and does stuff you don't want do for your team, and we do that."
With the graduation of John Richford, the center position will be an open competition. Horn will enter the spring in the running for the job. He will be tested against returning fourth-year juniors A.J. Trump and Matt Pipho, two players, along with seniors John Rochford and Derrick Morse that helped him learn the nuances of the game during his freshman year.
"The older guys are just help out the players," Horn said. "In the summer you have film study, and before I got here, I had no idea how to do that, and the terms they used, I've never heard them before. Those guys helped me out a lot, just sitting down and when I had to ask things about a specific play, they'd tell you how to do that."
Two of Horn's biggest inspirations have been Rochford and Morse.
"'D-Mo' and ‘Rock' have definitely given me to example of what I want to be," Horn spoke confidently. "If I can be like them and practice like them, I'll be fine here. Those guys are what Miami is about. They are all about team. If I can do that, I'll be fine here."
This season, Horn has played on the Hurricane's scout team, mimicking opposing team's starting center. The former high school tackle has found the transition to be challenging, but natural. A big reason for it has been the help from offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, who has been a stark contrast from his high school coach.
"Coach Stoutland has helped me out a lot," Horn said. "I love Coach Stoutland. My coach in High School was so relaxed, and Coach Stoutland is a pretty live wire. He is a great coach, I like him a lot."
On the field, playing on the scout team has given Horn the opportunity to play against the team's starting and best defensive tackle, Teraz McCray.
"When you are going against Teraz every day in practice, you are going to get better," Horn said. "I'm on the scout team and doing really well because of it. I'm red-shirting and being able to learn first has been great."
Horn has been one of several freshman Hurricanes who have taken initiative for themselves and worked out with one another after practices. They just happen to be room mates as well. Horn is room mates with freshman wide receiver Daniel Adderley. They share a suite on campus with freshman quarterback Robert Marve and wide receiver Jermaine McKenzie.
"We started back at mid-season," Horn said. "We are just working on getting that rhythm going together. It has been going real well for us."
Of the group, Robert Marve is considered by many fans to be the Hurricanes starting quarterback in 2008. Horn believes that this season for Marve is the start of a special career at the University of Miami.
"He is going to be special," Horn said with a smile. "He is just tearing up the team on scout team. I'm telling you, he will be special."
As for Horn, he is currently working on getting his weight at an optimum level. He is currently 283 pounds on a 6-foot-4 frame.
"I lost a lot of weight, and then I starting eating more," Horn said. "We work out in the morning, so we have to eat more. I was put on a meal plan around mid-season. It was fluctuating a lot and I've been able to narrow it down to the 280-283 pound range. However, for me, I want to be at 290 by the spring as long as I can stay athletic because I think that is my premium weight. I don't want to get too big."
Horn has majored in Business with a focus on Entrepreneurship.
"School is going real well. My school prepared me well, so I've made a pretty good transition to college."