Next up in our recruiting series as we draw closer to football season is Aric Horne. Horne is a 6’1, 210 pound outside linebacker from Jacksonville, Florida, and committed to Iowa State last June after he chose the Cyclones over Miami (FL.)
Horne is another player who enrolled during the summer and has been participating in summer camp. However, he is not listed on the depth chart, which is not a huge surprise. He’ll have the opportunity to learn behind Marcel Spears Jr, Will McDonald, Jake Hummel, and more, which should only speed up his development.
We won’t be able to see that much from Horne this season, but I’m going to do my best to see the type of player he can be in an Iowa State uniform based off of his high school film.
Horne is a smaller linebacker that plays quicker than average. His quickness allows him to hit holes faster than most and prevent big plays from happening. This also helps him in coverage, he can stay with smaller receivers while overpowering them.
However, because he’s smaller, Horne has a hard time shedding blockers from the offensive line. He’s still strong, but he’s not the type of linebacker that we are used to seeing. He has a longer way to go than most players, but that just shows that Matt Campbell sees a lot of potential in him, even if that’s not shown a whole lot on film. Time in the weight room will certainly help him be more physical.
This play is one of the best examples of Horne’s power. It’s an all-out blitz where Horne is practically untouched, and he sheds the one man who tried to block him with ease. Once he gets past the offensive line, he charges the quarterback and smokes him, causing him to throw a rainbow and an interception.
Here’s another all-out blitz where Horne was barely touched. He made a good read and blew past the few defenders that tried to block him. Horne also made a really good play in pursuit of the quarterback by breaking down his footwork at the the last second to prevent the quarterback from scrambling. If Jon Heacock can put Horne in situations like this, he will thrive in Iowa State’s system.
This play is a screen pass that Horne anticipated. He was left unblocked because of his quickness and awareness. He tackled the ball carrier who caught it less than a second after he had the ball. If these instincts carry over to Ames, they could play a big part in making Horne a good linebacker.
This play may be harder to see than most but Horne is the linebacker with the white arm sleeve who makes a hard hit at the end of the play. The running back clearly wasn’t going to get a big gain on this play, but Horne stepped in and stuffed him before he could get any gain. This ball hawk mentality is something that the Iowa State defense has a ton of, if Horne brings that, it will be a good thing.
After watching Horne’s film and recognizing some of his strengths and weaknesses, I think Horne will fit into Iowa State’s system in a different way. His biggest strengths are speed and quickness, so I see him being used in a spy position when they play against running quarterbacks. He can also be used in heavy blitz packages to slip through holes in the defense and get to the quarterback. However, because of his lack of power and strength compared to other Iowa State linebackers, I can’t see him being an every down player as of right now. He still has the potential to grow a lot, because he’s just a freshman. But, until then, a platoon player is all I see him as.
I like a lot of the film that Aric Horne has to offer and I see where the potential is. A smaller linebacker is always useful within a defense. Much like every freshman, he has a lot of room to grow in the weight room. The gains that Horne will make within the strength and conditioning program will do wonders to his game and could potentially make him a starter by the time he’s an upperclassmen.