Clemson among schools pursuing 4-star Tennessee commit
Tennessee has limped to a 3-5 record this season and lost four straight games. The Volunteers have also lost several commitments amid the speculation surrounding Butch Jones’ future in Knoxville.
Alpharetta (Ga.) four-star defensive back Jaycee Horn is among those on Tennessee’s commitment list exploring other options, though he isn’t ready to jump ship just yet.
Horn (6-1, 175) says he is still solid on his pledge to the Volunteers right now, but admits that could change as there’s a lot of time left before he signs on the dotted line in February.
“I’m signing in February, so it’s really a long way until signing day,” Horn told The Clemson Insider. “That gives a lot of teams the opportunity to recruit throughout my season, throughout their season. So I’m still committed to Tennessee right now. Obviously it’s no secret that there’s a lot of feelings of uncertainty right now up in Knoxville… So I’m just taking it day-by-day, just keeping my options open because you never know what could happen.”
Horn, who committed to Tennessee in August over finalists Alabama and South Carolina, had planned to continue visiting other schools even before things went south in Knoxville. So far this season, he has been to Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. He plans to visit Georgia again for its game against South Carolina on Saturday.
Clemson extended an offer to Horn in early October, about three weeks after he took in the Tigers’ win over Auburn on Sept. 9.
Horn was accompanied by his father, former NFL receiver Joe Horn, on that trip.
His mother has yet to experience Clemson, so he is looking to visit again and bring her along.
“I haven’t really looked at their schedule, but I’m definitely planning on making it back up there for a visit, especially with my mom on hand because it’s a great family atmosphere and Clemson is all about family,” Horn said.
“I’m sure she will love it because it’s a great family atmosphere,” he added. “That’s all the moms really want at the end of the day, and a good education, so I’m sure she’ll love Clemson. And I just want her to have a chance to look at the wonderful facilities they have and get a chance to take in the game-day atmosphere.”
Clemson initiated contact with Horn in the spring before ramping up communication with him this season.
Horn played cornerback before moving to safety this season, and after seeing film, the Tigers have expressed their interest in him at that position.
“I’ve been hearing from them pretty often. I talk to coach (Mickey) Conn the most, coach (Mike) Reed,” Horn said. “They like the way I play safety. They said they like their DBs to be able to play all positions, and they like that I’m really versatile in my style of play, just being able to line up anywhere in the back end of the secondary, being able to make an impact and having a nose for the ball. That’s what they told me they like most about me, and just my physicality.”
Besides Clemson, Horn continues to be heavily recruited by a number of other schools.
“I’m hearing from Georgia, Ohio State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee,” he said. “That’s a little view of who I’m talking to most right now.”
Horn said his father — a four-time Pro Bowler who spent the bulk of his 13-year NFL career with the New Orleans Saints — has been a big help to him throughout his recruiting process.
“My dad has helped me tremendously, on and off the field,” he said. “I find him more helpful off the field, just telling me about the business part of football, the ins and outs. He tells me to never get complacent, always stay hungry. Don’t let the stars, the rankings, the offers, none of that get in your head because at the end of the day, none of this really matters.
“Whatever college you choose to go to, you can only pick one, and once you sign your name on the dotted line it’s all over. You have to start back from the bottom of the totem pole and you’ve got to work your way up, you’ve got to get back on your grind. So always keep your head down and keep grinding, just know there’s always room for improvement.”
Horn is ranked by ESPN as a top-150 prospect in the 2018 class regardless of position.
Through nine games as a senior this season, Horn has recorded 33 tackles, 11 pass deflections and five interceptions.