Horton that’s Oakland baby! Sorry, I had a Too $hort moment there but I had to bring it back to the bay.
In this installment of the Bay Area Cougs Report, I will take a look at the Washington State football’s cornerbacks as we feature Damante Horton of Oakland, California. As a member of the Contra Costa Times’ Cream of the Crop (Bay Area Top 20), in high school Damante was a stud and he would continue that success as he stepped on the collegiate stage in the Pac-12 at Washington State.
His freshman year, Horton appeared in the first 7 games and earned a Varsity Letter posting 15 total tackles 10 solo. His biggest showing was at UCLA where he earned the Cougar defensive player of the week honors when he put up 8 tackles overall, 6 solo. Unfortunately Horton’s season was cut a bit short due to a season ending knee injury vs Arizona.
He would be back the next year in a big way however as a Sophomore. Damante earned another Varsity letter and appeared in all 12 games in 2011 and started in 11 of them. He was also named to Phil Steele’s All-Pac-12 Conference second team. Horton had a stellar year with 31 tackles 21 solo, forced two fumbles and had 4 interceptions in 4 straight games including an interception for a touchdown against Oregon. It just seemed like anytime a pass went up, Horton was there to take it away or knock it down.
Damante started his Junior year as he left off but as the year went on he slowly disappeared. He appeared in 11 games but only started in 6 of those. He had 26 tackles with 20 solo and he only broke up 3 passes. Horton seemed to take a slight step back in the new system, whether it be adjusting to positioning or hesitation with something new in place it obviously effected his play. He started the first six games where he posted most of his numbers then snuck into the black as we saw less and less of him through the year.
Horton’s absence from the second half of the season really disappointed me as he is one of my favorite defensive players. He can be an absolute shut down cornerback where teams just regret throwing to his side much like Richard Sherman is for the Seahawks but for some reason in the new system he had a hard time.
I really would like to see him come back for a huge Senior year because we need him, especially with the loss of Daniel Simmons who was a beast at corner last year. Horton could more than fill that space as I think he has more overall potential and with Daniel gone Damante is set up for a killer year, it just depends on if he can get up to speed with the new system. Washington State’s defense would take a huge step forward if Damante plays at full potential next year as he has unbelievable coverage skills and has a way to position himself in the right place at the right time, all he has to do is step up and take the spot. I’m really looking forward to seeing how he does this next year and I hope to hear his name over and over again all throughout the year! Good luck in 2013 young man and GO COUGS!