South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn is already getting a little heat over it. Had things turned a little differently, he’d be wearing Tennessee orange and white this weekend, but he has not considered that too much.
“No, coach (Kyle) Krantz picks on me a little bit about it,” Horn said. “But (it’s) just another game really.”
Krantz and the rest of South Carolina’s staff are benefiting from the series of events that prevented Horn, now a top-flight SEC defender, from ending up in Knoxville.
Horn had South Carolina in his final group before committing to the Vols heading into his senior season. But things went so very awry after that.
The Volunteers started 3-1 and closed 1-7. They lost every SEC game, which led to the end of the Butch Jones era ... and Horn’s pledge.
“I was committed to them when coach Jones was there,” Horn said. “Then when he left, I decommitted. We lost a lot of commitments when he left. So everybody just chose their own path.”
New UT coach Jeremy Pruitt had been on the Alabama staff that had also recruited Horn, but in early December, Horn made the choice he’d turned down in the summer.
Muschamp declined to talk about the Tennessee side of the recruiting equation, but spoke about his own pursuit of the son of former NFL All-Pro Joe Horn.
“He was a very easy guy to recruit because he wasn’t a guy that you had to sit there and call all the time and text all the time and, and do all that sort of business,” Muschamp said. “He was a very low maintenance guy to recruit. Joe, his dad, was great. Mom was great in the process. They wanted Jaycee to make the best decision for him and they trusted him to make the best decision.”
Since then, he grew into a freshman All-American and now one of the better defensive backs in the SEC. For the season, he has 23 tackles, seven pass break-ups and a pair of forced fumbles.
Horn said he still knows a few Volunteers, including Marquez Callaway, former Gamecocks commit Bryce Thompson and defensive back Warren Burrell from the Atlanta area. But he hasn’t talked with any of them this week.
Despite having been on track to end up their teammate, he’s not treating this as anything more meaningful than any other game, same mindset, same everything.
Even though the Vols lost to Georgia State and BYU, when he turns on the film, he still sees a team with plenty of talent.
“They got big physical receivers outside, they can go up and get the ball through contact.
“Just preparing for all quarterbacks since we don’t know who we’re going to get.”