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RB Mikel Horton: “I am a man of my word and I am going to Kentucky”


He’s had big-time players recruited by the nation’s top coaches before, but Lakota West coach Larry Cox has never had a high-profile player make his college choice as early as running back Mikel Horton has. One of Ohio’s best players, and one of the nation’s premier backs, ended his college recruitment Saturday when he gave his verbal pledge to Kentucky.

“My recruitment is totally shut down. I am finished. My school is picked. I am a man of my word and I am going to Kentucky,” said Horton.

That’s the policy Cox plans to enforce, too, when coaches inquire about Horton.

“I told him when coaches come in and say they want to talk to Horton, I am telling them no,” Cox said. “Of all the players I’ve had, this is the earliest commitment from a marquee player and now we have to manage it the right way.”

Cox had no problem with Horton making an early decision because he felt Horton was sold on UK.

“I think it is really, really important that kids make the decision because that’s the school he likes the most and feels the most at home,” Cox said. “He sort of said that same thing back to me. He said, ‘Coach, I think they want me the  most. You just get that feeling.’ He’s putting his faith in coach (Mark) Stoops to get things going in a different direction and is sold on the vision of the program. I told him he couldn’t make a bad decision with the offers he had, but to make the one he felt best about and that’s what he told me this was.”

Cox said Horton has the size, speed and versatility to give any offense a different dimension.

“They talk about a triple threat player in basketball, but that’s what he is in football. He can block, catch and run. How do you game plan for that? You can’t say a little back is in so they are going to run or throw because he can’t block,” Cox said. “We run a very similar offense to what they will at Kentucky. It’s a tempo offense. When you can leave a big back in there like that, you are unlimited in what you can do.”

Horton admitted that new offensive coordinator Neal Brown’s fast tempo offense was a big part of his decision to pick UK.

“Coach Brown talked about me playing as a freshman and that got my mind back on Kentucky,” Horton said. “He told me I was a complete back he could use in any situation. That’s another reason I chose Kentucky. The downhill running scheme is big for me. Playing in the SEC is very big. It’s the mini-NFL. My goal is to go to the NFL, so getting early playing time helps you to do that.

“I also felt at home with the fans. I have family in Newport (Ky.) and in Alabama. That was part of it. But I just felt at home at Kentucky. I wanted coaches who care, and that definitely influenced my decision. I’m really big on atmosphere. I don’t care about buildings or records.”

Horton’s weight had dropped to about 220 pounds during track season, but he hopes to be at 225 for football season.

“I always train hard for football. My father always had me work on catching the ball and footwork,” Horton, who plans to graduate in December and then enroll at UK, said. “I have been working for this for a long time. I can run faster than most people think. I can run a 4.5 (second 40-yard dash). At camp, a lot of linebackers could not catch me. That’s a big advantage with my size and speed.”


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  1. MikeF

    Not only is he a blue chip recruit…he working to get other recruits into Lexington. I live in No. Ky and I’m looking forward to see him play for Lakota West this fall. Stoops if off an rolling in Ohio!

  2. Greg

    Hot Damn. Go STOOPS TROOPS!!

  3. Larry T Clemons

    Care about these Young Men, ” and they will come “…Coaches Matter ! Great work STOOPS/Brown combo does it.

  4. Anonymous

    Talk about a kid saying all the right things !!

  5. Larry Pup

    I have not seen him play one game yet, but I like Horton already. UK is very fortunate to have his commitment. I predict he will be a game breaker for the Big Blue before he’s through. Mikel I for one thank you for choosing UK. GO CATS!!!!

  6. Love SEC F-Ball

    “Coach, I think they want me the most”
    “I felt at home at Kentucky”
    “I wanted Coaches who care”
    “I’m really big on atmosphere”

    Coach Stoops & his staff all understand this and communicate this to recruits.

    Welcome to U.K Mikel – We do want you the most! Good luck!

  7. Anonymous

    Love those big backs with speed and great hands…welcome Mr. Horton!

  8. Ira

    Big time pu for UK. loved his comments. Welcome once again to the BBN!

  9. David

    Bobby Petrino who? I was wanting BP so bad but Stoops has eclipsed that desire of having him as head coach so far. Great job coach!

    Welcome Mikel! Glad your onboard.

  10. UKFAN197TONE

    Don’t forget: I don’t care about building’s or records.

    I think he wants to make a name for himself and help a program! I can’t wait to see him play.

  11. Bill Rice

    Larry, I can’t remember when we have had a coaching staff that can obviously inspire recruits to want to come to UK! Their game plan for recruiting is truely outstanding! Who would have ever imagined us recruiting Ohio like it was our home state!

    1. larryvaught

      Bill rice, amen. Pretty amazing scenario

  12. eddie

    if his career goes as i think it will here in kentucky he could be a hero and legend at kentucky he is reallt that good.

  13. Joel Lobb (@kentuckyloan)

    Great looking running back prospect

  14. Steve

    Love to see a great back in the backfield. They’ll use him right, too!

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