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Tory Horton delivered the news everyone in Ram Nation hoped to hear. The 21 year-old wide receiver announced via social media on Sunday that he will return to Colorado State for the 2024 season.
A first-team all-conference player each of the past two years, Horton has been one of the most productive playmakers in the country since following Jay Norvell from Nevada to CSU.
In 24 games in a Rams uniform, Horton has racked up 167 receptions for 2,267 yards and 16 touchdowns. He’s also returned two punts for scores and thrown a touchdown.
While many expected the versatile wide-out to take his talent to the next level, Horton showed once again how loyal he is to the man that signed him out of high school.
For a lot of guys in this position, even if they elected to play a fifth season of college football, the move would be to jump in the transfer portal and chase a check. It’s no secret that Horton has been widely pursued by power five schools and unsurprisingly so. He’s good enough to play anywhere.
Just as he did last summer, though, when the “wolves” started circling, Horton showed the world once again that relationships do still matter in this business.
At the Mountain West Media Days in Las Vegas last summer, Norvell talked about his unique bond with the future pro, telling local reporters that Horton’s loyalty is something that really means a lot to him.
“He’s shown me screenshots of people offering him 50 grand to come play for them. And it’s because of his character (that he stays). I mean, he shows them to me. A lot of kids wouldn’t do that.”
Norvell was right last summer when he said that Horton’s character is what separates him from the pack. And that’s a sentiment that remains true today. There just are not a lot of guys out there like number 14.
Since the day he arrived on campus, Horton has been an integral leader for the program and shown nothing but the greatest commitment to the team. When other veteran players decided to jump ship and abandon CSU mid-season in 2022, Horton served as a mentor for the freshmen that were prematurely forced onto the field.
Even when the Rams were eliminated from bowl contention and the team barely had enough guys to practice, you knew the one individual that could be depended on week after week was Horton.
As a senior this fall, Horton took an absolute beating over the course of the season. There were multiple times where it seemed like he would be out for an extended period of time. But somehow he always got back up. It’s just the type of player he is.
If there is still time remaining, Tory Horton is going to do everything in his power to try and make something happen. We watched it all the way through the heartbreaking finish at Hawaii in Week 13. And while he will hopefully be rewarded with some more team success in his fifth and final season, everyone in Fort Collins is fortunate enough to get to watch him go on one more run with the Green & Gold.
In addition to a trip to the postseason, hopefully Horton running it back results in the same type of solo success that Mohamed Kamara had on the defensive side in 2023. The Rams did not achieve the goals they hoped to as a program, however, the MW Defensive Player of the Year certainly raised his NFL Draft stock with his stellar production.
At only 21 years old, Horton has a chance to do the same and still go into the league as a standard-age prospect. His return is also a massive win for a CSU offense that’s already lost Dallin Holker to the draft and Louis Brown to the portal.
2024 is a big year for the CSU Rams. It just got that much more interesting with the return of the brightest star.