UA’s Horton hoping a dream comes true in Holiday Bowlby Anthony Gimino on Dec. 28, 2009, under Sports
Arizona Wildcats defensive tackle Donald Horton has a dream. Mostly, he’s been having a dream as he prepares for his last game — UA’s appearance in the Holiday Bowl against Nebraska.
“It’s this weird dream,” he said.
“It’s kind of like a quarterback rollout play. I break through the line. I’m running and right as he throws it, I jump and I knock the ball out and the ball lands in (defensive back) Corey Hall’s hands. He runs it back and we win off that play.
“Weird, right? I have been having that dream all the time. If that happens, I don’t know what I would do. I would go crazy.”
If anyone deserves to go crazy — in a good way — it’s Horton.
|Top recruits from Mike Stoops’ first full recruiting class in 2005|
|OL Eben Britton|
|OL Adam Grant|
|DB Corey Hall|
|DL Donald Horton|
|FS Michael Johnson|
|LB Xavier Kelley|
|OL Blake Kerley|
|LB Spencer Larsen|
|LB Adrian McCovy|
|WR Mike Thomas|
|QB Willie Tuitama|
The fifth-year senior is a survivor of the early Mike Stoops years, when the Wildcats were trying to crawl out of the Mackovickian muck, when progress was measured not so much in wins and losses, but by an decreasing margin of defeat.
Stoops, especially recently as the Wildcats are having their best season since 1998, has praised those enduring fifth-year seniors, who were part of his first full recruiting class in 2005. They were buying on faith.
Horton made his recruiting visit during the 2004 home game against 20th-ranked Wisconsin … a night that provided ample reason to not want to come to Arizona.
Thunderstorms and lightning, the product of Hurricane Javier, delayed the game 88 minutes. The teams eventually slugged it out in miserable conditions, with the Badgers winning 9-7 when Arizona’s Nick Folk missed a 47-yard field goal with 43 seconds left.
“Even from my recruiting trip, I just had the feeling Arizona was really going to do something,” Horton said.
“Wisconsin was a powerhouse at the time. And I was like, man, we are keeping up with them and pushing them, and we didn’t have very much at the time. I was like, man, these boys are going to be good.
“For me, it wasn’t that hard to believe in them.”
So, Horton had a vision, he is having a dream … and after the Holiday Bowl, he will begin the dream.
And it doesn’t have anything to do with playing football.
For sure, Horton has been a valuable member of the Wildcats. Able to play inside or outside on the defensive line, he has 42 games of experience, including 19 starts. As a full-time starter this season, he has three sacks.
But he’s not exactly pro stock.
As the door to his football career closes, another one opens. Already a graduate student, Horton will begin an internship next semester, working in Arizona’s strength program.
“What I have in mind, what I really want to do, is strength coaching,” Horton said.
That can wait for one more game.
Maybe on Wednesday night, the Nebraska quarterback will roll out. Horton will break through the line. The quarterback throws. Horton jumps. Deflects the ball. Corey Hall grabs it and runs for a touchdown.
Well … it could happen.