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H.S. football: Northside DE/TE Zach Horton commits to play at James Madison

H.S. football: Northside DE/TE Zach Horton commits to play at James Madison

Only $5 for 5 months

High school football players in Timesland don’t need a road map to get to James Madison University in Harrisonburg.

They are starting to leave a trail.

Zach Horton, who made first-team All-Timesland as a junior defensive end for Northside in 2019, has become the third Timesland player to commit to JMU in the last nine months.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Horton said Saturday he chose JMU over a long list of offers including Navy, Army, Air Force, Eastern Michigan, Coastal Carolina, William and Mary, Richmond, VMI, Elon, Furman, Chattanooga.

“To me they treated me more like a family [member] than a football recruit,” Horton said of JMU. “I always loved JMU. That’s what made the decision so much easier.”

Horton was the Blue Ridge District co-defensive player of the year and a second-team VHSL Class 3 defensive lineman in 2019 as Northside finished 9-4 and reached the Region 3D championship game for the second year in a row.

He had 93 total tackles including 28 tackles for loss and 15 quarterback sacks.

Horton said JMU recruited him to play tight end, where he was a first-team Blue Ridge choice and second-team Region 3D selection.

He was a Timesland Sizzlin’ Sophomore at tight end in 2018.

Horton will follow 2020 graduates Kelly Mitchell of Hidden Valley and Deaquan Nichols of William Fleming to JMU.

Mitchell signed as a tight end while Nichols is walking on with a full academic scholarship to play free safety or wide receiver.

Horton said he heard from Nichols after announcing his commitment on Twitter.

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