Having a big, strong running back like Mikel Horton is not the description some would use for the ideal back in Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown’s system. However, for running backs coach Chad Scott, having Horton is perfect.
“It is going to be real fun. People always ask me do you think he fits what you do? Absolutely. You have to have big-play ability. If you are a small guy, you have to have the ability make people miss. If you are a big guy, you have to have the ability to break tackles. Mikel has unbelievable tackle breaking ability along with big play ability,” said Scott.
“He also has deceptive speed and can make people miss and catch balls. He led his team in receiving. That’s a huge plus for our offense and is kind of unusual to see a 215- or 220-pound kid out there leading the team in receiving. He has that kind of skill set, which is very intriguing.”
Horton was ranked as the No. 3 prospect in Ohio and No. 12 running back nationally by Rivals.com after finishing his career at Lakota West High School in West Chester, Ohio. He ran 178 times for 1,203 yards, an average of 6.8 yards per carry, and 13 touchdowns as a senior and led his team with 19 catches for 249 yards and two scores. He competed in the 4×100-meter relay, 200-meter dash and 110-meter hurdles as a junior before picking UK over Florida State, Louisville, Michigan State and Vanderbilt. He enrolled at UK in January.
“It’s huge that he is on campus. Any time a kid comes in during the offseason and actually gets to go through spring ball and see exactly what it will be like during season, it is a big bonus for them,” Scott said as UK prepares to start spring practice Friday. “There is no way you can substitute what it is actually like without going through it.
“It is huge for him and we expect him to bring a physical element to our team. We need a power game and I think one of his biggest assets will be his ability to stick his foot in the ground, run north and south, and break tackles. We expect him to bring that power to the inside game that we lacked last year.”