In this installment of The Recruiting Notebook, we meet a talented WR with prototypical height and incredible skill: Murfeesboro (TN) Oakland 4-star WR Isaiah Horton.
To have a good offense, you have to have good receivers. And to continue to have the kind of talent they desire on the outside, Miami recruited Murfeesboro Oakland 4-star WR Isaiah Horton.
Horton stepped into the recruiting spotlight with a strong season as a junior for State Champion Oakland. Horton recorded 34 catches for 693 yards (20.4ypc) and 7 touchdowns as a junior and elevated his play as a senior. Horton had 41 catches for 793 yards and 7 TDs in 2021 for Oakland.
After his stellar junior year, teams from all over the country looked to Horton as a player of note for their recruiting classes. Miami and Tennessee and Alabama were the trio at the top of the list, but there were others for sure. Horton took visits to that quartet of schools in June as he began to formulate his decision.
A month after his 2nd visit to Tennessee, Horton decided he had seen enough and had found a home. He committed to Miami on July 28th, just ahead of his senior season. And as for why he chose Miami, Horton wrote this piece in his local paper ahead of Signing Day to tell the world why.
On the 247sports composite, Horton is a 4-star prospect, the #49 WR nationally, #11 in the State of Tennessee, and #335 player overall in this class.
Horton committed to Miami over offers from Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida from a list of 23 scholarship offers from around the country
As A Player
Horton is tall and lean at 6’3” 190lbs. Miami hasn’t had a receiver in the rotation of that size since Lawrence Cager and Brian Hightower. So adding a player of Horton’s size is a big step for the WR room, as it gives Miami some much needed diversity in terms of height, which has been lacking on the outside.
Because of his size, Horton is a long strider who takes a couple steps to really get going. He has good speed once he’s at top speed, but there are plenty of faster players at the receiver position. He’ll need to refine his footwork and get better in and out of his breaks at the college level.
Horton has good hands, and pairs those with his size to go up above defenders for contested catches with ease. The “jump ball” throws and back shoulder fades will be staples for his usages in college. Horton is good at the routes at the top of the route tree: flags, corners, and go routes. He’ll need to add diversity to the routes he can run to fit the Canes’ offense. And, with his size, Horton will need to add the dig route — an in-breaking route toward the middle of the defense — to really fulfill his potential impact moving forward.
That’s a lot about what Horton is. What he’s not is supremely quick in short areas, nor is he a burner who will run past anybody chasing him. And that’s okay. But it’s also important to note it now, so that expectations for him turning into those things is curtailed before it starts.
Lastly, Horton threw a pair of TDs on trick plays as a HS senior. So, add him to whatever list you may have of players to be featured in trick play situations, because it appears that Horton belongs on that list as well.
- Vertical receiving ability
- Contested catches
- Championship pedigree
- Average build
- Average speed
- Needs to diversify route tree
Note: changed this up from just a freshman-season outlook to a career outlook for each player last year and we’re continuing that style this year as well.
Miami has some good receivers on the roster, and could add another game-ready option in the transfer portal. So, while Horton is a good addition to the group, the path to early playing time is a precipitous one.
The path for Horton probably starts with a limited package of plays, with some jump balls and back shoulder fades as his go-to options. As he continues to develop his technique and refine his body, his role can grow down the line, likely as a sophomore or later in his time at Miami.
Horton has always been the #1 receiving option in his career, but I think he fits best as a #2 here at Miami. He just lacks the speed to be a real game changing focal point of the offense, but that shouldn’t stop him from being a very valuable, and productive, member of the offense as he moves through his career at Miami.
The ceiling for Horton right now probably sits around honorable mention All-ACC, and that’s not bad. Anything beyond that is gravy, and here’s hoping we’re able to find a way to get Horton to that level of performance in the future.
That’s it for this installment of The Recruiting Notebook.