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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