Tory Horton Spurned Power Four Offers as Loyalty Led Him Back to Colorado State

    Star wide receiver Tory Horton returned to Colorado State despite NFL interest and Power Four conference offers. Here's why.

    Speaking at Mountain West Media Days, Colorado State wide receiver Tory Horton explained his decision to return to the Rams and what fans and NFL franchises can expect from him during the 2024 season.

    Why WR Tory Horton Returned to Colorado State

    Horton’s No. 1 reason for staying in Fort Collins? Loyalty.

    “[CSU Head coach Jay Norvell] gave me that shot out of high school … he was the only one that really believed in me,” Horton said. “It takes a lot of trust for a coach to go out of his way and go for someone who everyone has overlooked.”

    As Nevada’s head coach, Norvell offered Horton his only FBS scholarship coming out of high school in the Fresno, Calif., area. The WR was a three-star recruit in the 2020 class, but his only other Division I offers came from FCS-level Montana and Northern Colorado.

    MORE: 2024 Colorado State Depth Chart

    Horton redshirted his true freshman season and saw some playing time in 2021, but he didn’t break out until he followed Norvell to Colorado State in 2022, taking 71 receptions for 1,131 yards and eight touchdowns.

    The Rams WR kept his form in 2023, posting a 96-1,136-8 receiving line and earning first-team All-MWC honors. Thus, to no one’s surprise, Horton made the preseason All-Conference team that the Mountain West released this morning.

    Yet, it’s not just loyalty keeping Horton at home, as Horton touched on what Norvell brings as a coach and mentor. “He just shows a lot of great knowledge in the game. Of course, he’s been a coach for numerous years, played in the NFL, in college. He knows a lot — he wrote a book on receivers.”

    Horton reportedly received six-figure NIL deals to transfer, and while that’s a significant chunk of change, he felt his current situation provided the best opportunity to improve his draft stock. But it isn’t all about the money for Horton — it’s about the experience. It also helps that he’ll be earning his degree this year.

    When Horton initially announced he’d spurn the NFL Draft for another year with the Rams, he stated:

    “I had to take some very deep thoughts. I had to talk to my family, and my family told me this was my decision and whatever I ended up doing they were happy with. We just had tons of feedback, just the positives and negatives of each situation and me taking that into consideration. To me, it was like the NFL isn’t going anywhere. There could be some risk; it could be good or bad. This college time, once it’s gone, its gone.”

    While that may be the case, Norvell gave his opinion on Horton’s NFL Draft decision, believing the WR would benefit from another year at the collegiate level.

    “I really felt the responsibility with my experience of coaching in the NFL, of being involved in many Senior Bowls and combines, evaluating players; I really felt he needed to know the good and bad with his decision and what he would weigh. We’re just so thankful Tory is coming back. We are excited.”

    Playing on a competitive team is also a huge draw for athletes weighing their decision, and Horton says that’s exactly who the Rams are.

    “I felt like this last year could be a year where CSU is going to make a huge jump and stamp our name on the board of being one of those top contenders, just that powerful team that teams have a hard time playing against.”

    Colorado State landed at No. 5 in the  2024 Mountain West Predicted Order of Finish and No. 4 on College Football Network’s 2024 Mountain West Power Rankings.

    The Rams are on a six-year stretch without a winning season — that should change in 2024. Norvell established Nevada as a perennial contender in the MWC, and if returning rocket-armed QB Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi reins in the turnovers and the defense bounces back after a rough season, he could do so again with Colorado State in Year 3 of his tenure.

    KEEP READING: 2024 Mountain West WR Rankings

    NFL fans will have to wait one more year to play as Horton in Madden, but college football aficionados need only buckle in for nine more days. Today, EA Sports College Football 25 released its top 100 highest-rated players, and Horton checked in as the fifth-ranked WR with a 91 overall.

    Only Colorado’s Travis Hunter (95), Missouri’s Luther Burden III (94), Arizona’s Tetairo McMillan (94), and Ohio State’s Emeka Egbuka (93) were ahead of him.

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!

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