Horrocks talks about official visit

Theo Horrocks, a 6-3, 260-pound defensive lineman who committed to Vanderbilt last week, made his official visit last weekend along with a number of other prospects. The 6-3, 260-pounder shares his reactions to the weekend, and talks about the thought process that ultimately led to his pledge to the Commodores.

Last week was quite a week for Lincoln County (Tenn.) High School defensive lineman Theo Horrocks. The All-Region, 6-foot-3, 260-pounder thought he had at last resolved the lingering question of where he'd be playing football next year... until a phone call from Nashville abruptly changed his mind.

"Yeah, this last week's been hectic for me," said Horrocks, reached at his home in Fayetteville, Tenn. "I had gone over to UT-Chattanooga for an official visit, and had been talking a lot with their coaches, and had pretty much made up my mind I was going to go to UTC. Coach [Rodney] Allison had just left my house that morning.

"And then Vanderbilt called and offered me a scholarship."

When the scholarship offer from the Commodores came, Horrocks didn't take any time to make up his mind. He had visited Vanderbilt twice unofficially the previous season for home games, and was familiar enough with the campus to know that that's where he'd really like to go.

He accepted the offer on the spot.

"It was a great week, but it was hard, because I had to tell the coaches at Chattanooga that I had committed [to Vanderbilt]," Horrocks said. "But I'm really glad I'm going to get to play in the SEC."

What are the things about Vanderbilt that sold Horrocks?

"I'm looking forward, number one, to the education I'll have an opportunity to get," he said. "Then, they're playing in the SEC, and I look forward to playing Tennessee and all those other teams."

Growing up in Tennessee, Horrocks never paid much attention to college football, and was not a big fan of either Vanderbilt or Tennessee. He just loved to play the game.

"I've always played the game, and liked doing it, but I was never really a Vanderbilt fan or a Tennessee fan," he said.

Horrocks was invited to make an official (all-expenses-paid) visit to the Vanderbilt campus the following weekend, which he did along with two other defensive line prospects. Both of them ended up committing on their visits as well. Horrocks had already made his decision, but the visit only served to help him cement his thought process.

"They took us out to eat several times, at several different places there in Nashville," Horrocks said. "They took us on a tour of all their facilities. They allowed us to have some one-on-one time with our position coaches.

"At night, we got to hang out with a lot of the players. We got to just sit around the dorm and talk with the other players. Chris Booker, a defensive end, was my host, and we really hit it off good. I met a bunch of the players, so many I can't even remember all of their names.

"My roommate [for the weekend] was from Fork Union Prep School in Virginia [David Carter]. We hit it off pretty good. The other guy from Fork Union was Gabe Hall, and he was a really nice guy too."

Horrocks had 40 total tackles, 18 tackles for loss and one fumble recovery for 12-1 Lincoln County, a team which had one of the best defenses in the state. He will likely start out as a defensive end at Vandy, but could also play at his high school position of defensive tackle before he's through.

"I weigh 260 pounds," said Horrocks, who holds numerous weightlifting records at Lincoln County. "They said I'd be all right at 260, but I think they'd like me to be up around 275."

What does Horrocks do for fun besides playing football?

"I like to go 'coon hunting," he laughs. "That and lifting weights is pretty much all I do."

With the commitments from Horrocks, Carter and Hall, Vanderbilt has pretty much filled its quota of defensive linemen, with six committed. Horrocks' commitment also is Vanderbilt's fifth from the state of Tennessee, and its third from the Midstate area.

Photo of Theo Horrocks copyright 2004 by VandyMania.com and TheInsiders.com.

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