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Sanford HS football/Special
Jimmy Horn Jr. is an intriguing late offer to watch for Georgia in the 2021 class.

Late bloomer Jimmy Horn Jr. seems like a key late offer for Georgia

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry is about an intriguing late add to the UGA board for 2021 in Florida speed merchant Jimmy Horn Jr. 

There are many delicious bites of a story to share about the latest 2021 Georgia offer to Florida receiver prospect Jimmy Horn Jr. right now.

The COVID-19 recruiting freeze for evaluations. A broken wrist that basically cost him his junior year. That was to be his first season after a transfer. The slight 5-foot-9 and 165-pound frame. That’s after he put on about 20 pounds. 

An offer list which read Central Arkansas, Florida Memorial, Jackson State and Mississippi Valley State up until this week. His options now include the University of Georgia. 

This “wow” story meshes seamlessly with this lightning rod of undiscovered raw talent here.

“I mean obviously we’re pumped for him,” Sanford coach Eric Lodge said. “We’ve been screaming at the top of all the hills his praises all season long. It is good to see that people are paying attention and it is refreshing to talk with the guys at Georgia and guys that are really confident in their own recruiting and their own evaluation and their ability to evaluate. They are not just worried about have these guys come in on him or have these guys done that.”

“They set the standard here. That was refreshing to see.”

It all seems fleeting now. How many coaches and recruiters can see this speed and wonder for more than a nanosecond how Horn might make their offenses better?

Check this out. Just don’t blink.

The Sanford staff had every right to shout.

“People just didn’t want to believe what they were seeing unless it was with their own two eyes,” Sanford coach Eric Lodge said. “I think a whole season of him doing what he did and week-in and week-out it wasn’t a fluke. He’s a really special player.”

Horn wasn’t even at his top gear on that play. Or on this play.

Georgia finally saw it. Receivers coach Cortez Hankton especially. Mecole Hardman Jr. is the only other blur in recent Bulldog history who can run like Horn.

It seems like this recruiting class still didn’t offer enough dynamite at the receiver position. Horn is a talent with the raw unadulterated speed that can make play calls his way to seem like Todd Monken’s play sheet is on fire.

Georgia is in a good position to sign Jimmy Horn Jr.

There was a low moment or two here. Naturally.

“I didn’t really get down on myself,” Horn said. “My grandma always told me to smile. Something good is always going to happen for you if you always believe in God. I just prayed and things happened for me. Then Georgia came through with a big ol’ offer for me. That right there meant a lot to me. Now I know something like this is possible coming out of little old Sanford. Coming out of little old Sanford, I never thought Georgia would offer me.”

When Hankton offered, he just started smiling.

“As of right now, Georgia is probably like my number one,” he said. “I can see myself playing there. They are going to get me right. I’ll learn the playbook or whatever and it is on and popping from there. Now it is on to my decision day and my signing day.”

This wasn’t a “take a chance” offer. Especially if you see his full senior highlight reel.

It was more of a “we believe in you” type of offer. It did not go unnoticed. Those close to this situation feel it will be a shock to see another school sign Horn at this time.

“The landscape of college recruiting now is everybody is worried about who else has offered him and what if anything anybody else is doing,” Sanford coach Eric Lodge said. “Kudos to Georgia. They told me ‘Hey we really don’t care’ and ‘we like him’ and they said ‘once we offer him everybody is going to want to offer him’ and that seems to be coming true here as my phone blows up this morning.”

South Florida offered. Lodge also spoke to Florida State and Penn State on Thursday morning, too.  They’ll be behind in this race. Kind of like hoping to keep up with Horn on a “9” route.

Hankton coming with the offer first was big.

“That right there,” Jimmy Horn Jr. said. “That means a lot. Like what Georgia did was what Coach Lodge said. Real recognize real. They are not going by like stars and just giving me the opportunity and to offer me it just means a lot, man. All of these other colleges just wait until one of the big colleges pulls the trigger and then they want to try to offer you off of that and try to get you.”

“Georgia is one of the big schools. They offered me and they recognize what I can do with my talent. If I go there, I already know I am going to have more potential and just keep going up and up.”

Check out a special senior highlight reel for a Sanford team that is still alive in the FHSAA 8A playoffs.

The big takeaway here is not just the straight-line takeoff. It is the way he holds his speed laterally and through changes in direction.

There is a stretch play on that tape against Florida powerhouse Mainland High that shows all of that.

“It wasn’t so much his speed,” Lodge said. “We knew he had breakaway speed and could make people miss in the open field. There were probably five or six defenders around him and he’s making them miss in a phone booth. He ends up scoring from about 28 yards out. He runs with power. He’s got great balance. It is one thing to have speed and another to have vision, quickness, balance and be able to run through arm tackles.”

“That’s what really makes him special. We’ve got plenty of guys who are just really straight-line fast but you blow on them and they fall over. That’s not Jimmy for sure.”

Jimmy Horn-Georgia recruiting-UGA recruiting
Jimmy Horn Jr. is not just a breakaway speed guy. He’s got a lot more in his bag than that. (Jimmy Horn Jr./Twitter)

What does Georgia see in Jimmy Horn Jr. here?

Horn said that the offer moves Georgia up to his top school slot.

“Georgia would be a good school for me,” he said. “They would be real good for me.”

He told DawgNation that he will be the first male in his family to attend college now. It will be on a football scholarship.

What did Hankton and the Georgia staff value here?

“Obviously they see his dynamic ability on the field and his speed,” Lodge said. “It is hard to replicate and it is just real special. He just plays at a whole another speed. You can see that tape on the field down here in Florida. This is the fastest football state in the country and Jimmy plays at another speed when it comes to Florida. It is obviously elite speed for the entire country here.”

Jimmy Horn-Georgia recruiting-UGA recruiting
Jimmy Horn Jr. is a name to know down the stretch for the 2021 recruiting class at Georgia. (Jimmy Horn Jr./Sanford HS)

“But then also he works hard. He’s a great kid. He’s a grinder. He plays with a big chip on his shoulder and I think that’s what really separates him.”

It’s a work mindset here. Not just oodles of speed.

“Wiry frame,” Lodge said. “When he came to us as a sophomore he was a little twig, but he’s worked his butt off. He’s starting to put it on. So he’ll be rocked up when he is a Bulldog.”

Lodge said that Horn will not be able to graduate early. He’s on pace to graduate this spring.

“Coach Hankton said he didn’t care about all the other schools not offering,” Horn said. “He liked what I could do with my speed. He said I would be a good help to the program.”

Horn said Hankton offered him as a receiver, but that he would like to see him on punt returns.

“He feels like I can have an impact on the return game, too,” he said.

Sanford offensive coordinator Kyle Graff describes Horn is one of the most humble kids he has met.

“Never complains about anything,” Graff said. “Quiet. He was lighting in a bottle last year as a junior and broke his wrist on I think his first play of the first game last year.”

“He missed all but the last two regular-season games and the three playoff games. Never really hit his stride. So we knew this year he was going to be special. Even without a spring, we didn’t know exactly how it would be, but the first game this year got shot out of a cannon and it was on from there.”

Horn has played multiple positions this fall.

“He is our do-it-all guy,” Graff said. “We were without our QB one game and he took over. He just makes everything look easy and is just so smooth with it. He’s busted a few plays this year and came back to the sideline and told me ‘Coach that wasn’t even full speed I’ve still got another gear’ and he’s laughing while he says it.”

He compared his speed to former Georgia tailback D’Andre Swift.

“His speed is just like ‘wow ‘that kid is fast fast,” Graff said. “I would compare it to Swift he looks like a smaller Swift. His hands are unbelievable. I’ve seen him make some catches he has no business making.”

Jimmy Horn-Georgia recruiting-UGA recruiting
Jimmy Horn Jr. is a very big late offer for Georgia at the receiver position. (Jimmy Horn Jr./Twitter)

Things will be moving fast here for Jimmy Horn Jr. 

This had been the all-time uncommon recruiting year. The timing is just plain frantic. But Horn is used to moving fast in his life. In all things.

“He definitely moves at his own pace on the field,” Lodge said. “We had a kickoff return for a touchdown last week in the second round of the playoffs. We play a team in Sandalwood that they have multiple Power 5 kids on there. They have a middle linebacker going to Michigan. They do a high lob [kickoff] to one of our other kids and the kid ends up returning it for a touchdown. Jimmy, who is our deep returner, runs in front of that kid kind of like Tyreek Hill with what you will see in the NFL and then has to slow down to block and to block the defender.”

“We were kind of teasing him. It was like that play was more of a highlight or Jimmy than it was the kid who returned it. He makes the film look like it is slow motion sometimes. Comparing him to everybody else.”

He has 14 touchdowns this year, but the Sanford coaching staff was able to cull a 9:37 highlight reel for Horn from that Sandalwood game.

That kickoff return wingman clip takes place at the 6:37 mark of this Sandalwood game clip. He said that kickoff return was probably the fastest he has moved on the field so far this year.

“I know I can move faster than that, though,” Horn said.

He does feel this time frame will allow him to make a decision and sign somewhere on the first day of the early period on Dec. 16.

“Signing Day is going to be a good day now,” he said. “A lot of tears might get dropped. That is going to be a good day for me now.”

Will he now be able to settle and make up his mind in just two weeks?

“Yeah,” he said. “I’ll be able to do it now.”

UCF was the team he favored growing up.

“UCF was a good school that I liked,” Horn said. “But it is what it is now. They have lost out.”

According to Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel, the young man has 34 catches for 627 yards and eight touchdowns in 2020. That’s 18.4 yards per reception this fall.

Horn also has three rushing touchdowns this year.

“He’s got a great personality and he comes every day to practice or to class with a great work ethic,” Lodge said. “He’s really an example to all of the other guys that when you grind and you really want something you can go get it. Obviously, he is fast and a special talent but like I said when we got him he probably was about 5-foot-7 and about 140 pounds and when he walked through he wasn’t much to look at.”

“But after a couple of weeks of us having him, it was like man this kid has got some juice. If he can just work hard and develop, then he would be really good. We talked to Jimmy about that and he put his head down and went to grind at it and geez man look at him now. He’s really an inspiration for our whole program here and all these guys.”


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