Stats: 26 Tackles (15 solo), 0 ints, 4 pass breakups, 11 games played
What he accomplished in 2012: Actually, not much. Damante Horton failed by-and-large to impress in a year that was supposed to be a breakout season for the junior from Oakland. Speaking of Oakland, in his sophomore season Horton showed his grimy, rough-city mentality and the raw ability to make plays through sheer determination. In fact, he made several plays a game it seemed, intercepting 4 passes (including one returned for a touchdown in Oregon) and always seemed to be around the ball.
But 2012 was quite the different story, as I really only remember seeing him in games a handful of times. Not per game, I mean in the entire season. What happened? He lost a step, lost that grimy attitude and simply disappeared in the defense, and not in a good way.
Whether it was the 3-4 scheme with more zone concepts or just a lack of concentration on his part, Demante was constantly lost in transition from one receiver to the next. When he did get his chances, he really failed to capitalize, as you can gather from the picture and the stat still saying 0 interceptions.
What I expect in 2013: Horton may not have had anything to work for in 2012 with an almost guaranteed spot at corner, until the end when he started getting phased out by a more aggressive and quite frankly, productive Daniel Simmons. But this will be a different season, in which if he doesn’t come with it in Spring ball and into the Fall, he will be a senior on the sidelines watching it all.
Better athletes Alex Jackson, Tracy Clark, Daquawn Brown and likely Rahmel Dockery will all be chomping at the bit for playing time and they all bring something unique to the table. For that reason alone I think Mr. Horton will see the fight coming to him, buckle down this offseason and get himself right. He needs to gain 2 steps of quickness and probably 10 lbs of muscle if he’s going to win the job outright.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Demante Horton is the most improved defensive player in 2013. If he’s not, he might be riding the bench for the duration of it.