From Raymond James Stadium
It’s been quite a week for rookie receivers out of the University of Massachuettes.
On Monday night Victor Cruz caught three touchdown passes for the New York Giants in their game against the New York Jets.
And then Saturday night, Jeremy Horne (No. 8 on the right) caught a touchdown pass for the Chiefs against the Buccaneers.
Both of these guys played at UMass during the 2009 season. Both were not drafted by the NFL, even though they had sterling records as college receivers. How did the Minutemen only go 5-6 last year with these two guys on the field.?
It was during the ’08 college season that Cruz and Horne were dominant receivers in the UMass attack. Cruz led the team with 71 catches for 1,064 yards and six TDs. Horne caught 50 passes for 895 yards and 20 TD catches.
Now they are catching TD passes in the NFL.
“The play was to run to the back of the end zone,” Horne said of his six-yard scoring catch from QB Matt Cassel in the first quarter of Saturday night’s game. “He threw it towards me and I caught it.”
That’s about as talkative as Horne gets these days. There’s a wonderful personality inside a faÃ§ade right now formed by the coaching and football staff counseling all these young players about not having much to say when they are rookies.
But there is no question that Horne has caught the eye of the Chiefs coaches, especially Haley. It’s reached a point where they put in a special package of plays for Horne to run with the No 1 offense on Saturday night. They wanted the opportunity to see him working with the starters.
QB Matt Cassel said it was a bit of a surprise to everyone in the huddle when the rookie ran out to join them in the first quarter.
“When he first came in, I know it was a shock to most of us,” said Cassel of Horne. “But I know he wouldn’t be in there if the coaches didn’t think he was ready to go and prepared to play. He went in there and did a good job and made a play when we needed it.”
Horne has gotten himself this far by doing the simple one-day at a time routine. He says he does not think about the past or the future, just the present and what he can do to help his chances of making the team. “One day at a time,” said Horne. “One day at a time.”