Undrafted Rookie Finds The End Zone

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 façade 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.”

8 Responses to “Undrafted Rookie Finds The End Zone”

  • August 22, 2010  - Tenand6 says:

    Imagine if the Chiefs put their first team offense in at the beginning of the game. Meaning, this offense with J. Charles as the lead back and T. Jones as a fill in, short yardage back. The Chiefs have put handcuffs on themselves.

    I’ll watch again, but I like Belcher for sure over Mays. I think I like DJ over Williams. I could be wrong there, but Belcher/DJ is better than Mays/Williams to my eyes. So we started with better ILB at Tampa.

    And then there is Horne. For those who have seen him at practice knows he might be special.

    The Chiefs have to put their best players on the field and I have to believe they will. Playing Horne gave me hope. That may have been the best thing about the game. The Chiefs put talent on the field. Pioli says he’s not collecting talent, he’s building a team. Noted. But talent (or is it skill? I forget) can’t be ignored.

    In my mind, Quinten Lawrence played himself off the team last night. I’m not happy about that, but that’s what I saw. J. Williams may have, too. Jackie Battle may have won his spot last night. I hope so.

    This Horne kid can’t end up on the Practice Squad. He’s too damn good for that. We need guys who can get open and catch the ball.

    The Chiefs have no margin for error. They have to pick the “right 53″ and it isn’t just about who ran the most wind sprints after practice. The best 53 has to be considered. Natural ability has its place. It looks like the Chiefs may be warming up to that. Jeremy Horne, IMHO, gives the Chiefs a better chance to win than Quinten Lawrence, Lance Long. Right now, he looks like “the right 5 or 6″ at WR.

  • August 22, 2010  - Tenand6 says:

    Speaking of rookie receivers, where was #81 last night?

  • August 22, 2010  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Well put astute observations Tenand6.

  • August 22, 2010  - Dan-NY says:

    Similarly, I was disappointed TE Moeaki never got on the field. Though he may not yet be a starter, we need all of our playmakers running as a unit. Moeaki seems to catch everything in his direction.

  • August 22, 2010  - Fan Since 93 says:

    Horne may be the only WR to get the separation needed for our vertical game. I’d take him as the 4th WR right now.

  • August 22, 2010  - Edward says:

    Agreed Fan Since 93 Horne in my mind needs to be at least 4th wide receiver if he continues to get behind defenses and makes plays.

  • August 23, 2010  - Michael says:

    No question in my mind either, it’s DJ/Belcher for the inside linebacker positions. The exciting thing about Horne was that he was getting open a lot more than he was thrown to; they need to go his way more. I also thought Bowe looked good; Chambers was ok-didn’t go his way much either.

  • August 23, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    I agree, Horne has to make it! What do we have to loose???? Why would we need lawrence? Horne is better receiver and he sucks in the return game, i think he’s gone! I love the tought of DJ, but in two preseason games so far, has he done anything???? YoYo. Belcher is a beast! Belcher and Studebaker HAVE to be on the field someway!

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