Student of the gamePublished 11:07am Thursday, August 29, 2013
Bryant Horn is a student of the game.
Whether it’s constantly fine-tuning his game or displaying an innate understanding of a gameplan, Benjamin Russell’s senior quarterback is always trying to stay ahead of the competition.
Even though he’s entering his fourth year as starter, Horn – who boasts a 4.0 GPA – said there’s never a day where he doesn’t learn anything.
“My biggest strength is knowing the game and knowing where to go with the ball,” he said. “I know I’m not perfect and that I make mistakes, but for the most part I know where I’m going with the ball before the play starts. It’s helped having my dad (BRHS head coach Danny Horn) as the coach. I grew up knowing the system and being a four-year starter, I’m able to gain more knowledge and learn from my mistakes every game. I’m going to keep gaining more knowledge.”
With that has come improvement, not only for Horn, but also the Wildcats.
Every year with Horn under center, the Wildcats’ season record has improved.
The only thing that has derailed him has been injury.
In Horn’s first two years as starter, his seasons were cut short by horrific injuries.
“It’s always devastating when you have a season-ending injury,” he said. “But once you know you’re out, you have to go back to work. You have to build your strength and speed back up so you can get back out there and help the team. Anything you need to do, you have to do it.”
Horn’s resolve and workman-like approach to recovery paid off last season, as he remained healthy during his junior year. Unsurprisingly, the Wildcats went 11-2 on the season.
Horn was particularly impressive in that campaign, accounting for 2,010 total yards (1,548 passing) and 22 total touchdowns (10 pass, 12 rush).
But according to Horn, it’s time to look to the present and leave the past in the past.
“Every year we’ve gotten one step closer,” he said. “We’re trying to build from last year. We can’t focus on last year; we have to look at this year. This is a new team and it’s about what we can do.”
As for Horn, he’s working on making sure that what he does now, he can do it even better in his senior season.
“I’ve been throwing a lot more and trying to work on my accuracy,” he said. “Whether it’s drop backs, rolling out or my footwork, I’m doing what ever I can to make myself a more complete quarterback.”
The work has brought results, Horn said. He said his arm has strengthened over the past two years.
With a stronger arm and weapons on the outside, Horn could be poised for a big year statistically.
“We’ve got a couple guys that can threaten the defense,” he said. “The deep ball won’t be something we go for every play. When it’s the right time we’ll go for it, and hopefully we’ll execute. But I’m going to keep working on everything else until I get it where it needs to be.”
For Horn, it’s about being able to do everything well.
His throwing ability is well known, but he’s an adept scrambler, too.
Armed with a 4.78 40-yard dash, Horn has just enough speed to be a factor running and throwing as evidenced by his more than 400 yards rushing last year.
Of course, he is aware of that advantage and knows that defenses have to account for it.
“When they see on film that I can run it a little bit, they have to focus on containment and they defend the run,” he said. “I feel like I can escape pressure, and I think it’s a huge asset that we can run it from the quarterback and runningback positions.”
While Horn said he is excited for the season, he knows that the team can’t get ahead of itself.
Instead of looking at last season or penciling the Wildcats in the playoffs this season, Horn knows the team has to take care of business – one play at a time.
“It’s about WIN: What’s important now,” he said. “Offensively, we’re focusing on the next first down all the way up until we score. Defensively, we focus on the next stop. We focus on what’s important now.”
With a focused mindset, a tireless work ethic and increased expectations, Bryant Horn is not only on pace to a strong senior season for himself and moreover the Benjamin Russell Wildcats, he’s already ahead of the curve.