Harlan: Gateway football standout brings name(s) recognition
TribLIVE Sports Videos
With two schools in one year and a couple of last names, Gateway's John Horner could appear somewhat hard to find. Yet, college coaches already have their eyes on the soon-to-be senior.
A 6-foot-3 1⁄2, 182-pound free safety and wide receiver, Horner received scholarship offers from Akron and James Madison after starring at a camp in Youngstown.
“Since that camp, it's been hectic,” said Horner, who lists Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Syracuse, Temple and Toledo among the schools that recently visited him in Monroeville.
But his recruiting resume isn't as simple as some.
The rising senior played football last fall for short-lived Renaissance Christian Academy, a non-WPIAL-sanctioned team that faced mostly out-of-state opponents. When the school closed mid-year, Horner transferred home to Gateway just before Christmas.
At RCA, Horner played for Muzzy Colosimo, the former coach at Greensburg Central Catholic and current coach at Valley.
“He has all the tools,” Colosimo said. “He's got size. He's got decent speed. He can go up and get the ball. He's not afraid to tackle. Every college that came in to see me asked me about him.”
As a sophomore, Horner played junior varsity at Gateway, where the roster listed him as John McDonald. That remains his legal name, but he prefers Horner, the last name of his stepfather. His father, named McDonald, died when Horner was 4.
“(My stepfather) has taken on that father role,” Horner said.
Recruiters have handled the name switch, even though Colosimo jokes that John McDonald Horner of RCA/Gateway has more identities than a Mafia member. On Twitter, his handle includes McDonald but his profile says Horner. Still, his former coach says he's worth the search.
“He's a good student,” Colosimo said, “and he truly has the potential to be a great football player.”
After earning recognition at the Youngstown passing camp, James Madison assistant Brandon Staley visited Horner, watched him work and offered a scholarship.
“He said my size made me rare, said Horner, who grew about five inches in three years. He'll remind new Gateway coach Tom Nola of the athletes he had in Clairton, Colosimo said. Nola agreed.
“He's really on par with some of those guys, like Titus (Howard) and Terrish (Webb),” said Nola, comparing Horner with two former Clairton stars now at Pitt.
Despite its issues, he still values his time at RCA, which had a school from Detroit and another from Canada on its schedule.
“Going to RCA elevated my game,” Horner said. “Before RCA, I was just a role player going through the motions. RCA showed me what I could really do.”
And, now, everyone can learn who he really is.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Recent early retirements in NFL could be trend — or simply a coincidence
- Reversing the field: Pirates continue to raid Yankees for hidden skill
- Charleroi man jailed in teen sex assault case
- Steelers’ Tomlin, Pirates’ Hurdle share similar philosophy
- Mother of Kiski student files lawsuit against bus company, driver
- Business roundup: DEP to hold 1st hearing on Shell permit for cracker plant; more
- Vietnam Veterans Celebration at Tarentum VFW brings ‘brothers’ back together
- Rostraver man arrested on multiple drug charges
- Frazer residents rattled by potholes
- Apollo to assess owners of vacant properties
- Consumer spending inches up in February as income soars