Around the Horn: Newcomer Improved UW Kicking Game Just by Showing Up
Tim Horn had something firmly in hand when he joined the University of Washington football program that eluded All-Americans Chuck Nelson and Jeff Jaeger, plus teammate Peyton Henry.
For his foot.
Horn was not the first Husky placekicker to have his college education paid by the school for four years. But he's one of the few.
"It's a different era," Jaeger said. "You're getting guys with talent coming out of high school and, if you want them to come to your school, you can't say walk on."
At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, Horn better resembles a position player, maybe a budding tight end or a linebacker.
The Huskies brought the new guy in from Hawaii, presumably to replace walk-on Peyton Henry. As a redshirt freshman in 2018, Henry handled all field goals, extra points and kickoffs with mixed results. His kickoffs were too short. Worse, he missed a game-winner at Oregon.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the kicking tee.
Henry handed over some of his duties, but not all. Responding well to the increased competition, he was near perfect in converting 19 of 21 field-goal tries and all 49 of his extra-point kicks.
Two games in 2019, the Husky coaching staff awarded Henry his own football scholarship, giving the team a pair of place-kickers on the payroll, almost unheard of for Division 1 football.
As the resident big foot in waiting, Horn was no disappointment. He improved UW kickoffs immeasurably.
Horn landed 44 of 78 kickoffs in the end zone for touchbacks compared to Henry's 20 of 71 showing in 2018. The Husky newcomer's 62.5-yard average per kick exceeded the incumbent's 59.9.
With an uncertain season ahead because of novel coronavirus, the UW kickers will resume their kicking battle, waiting for someone to miss too many times.
This is the 53rd profile of a returning Washington football player, each of which can be found on the site by scrolling back. While the pandemic has interrupted and delayed team activities, Husky Maven/Sports Illustrated offers continuous coverage of the team.
Horn hails from the same Punahou High School in Honolulu that sent Jet Toner to Stanford, where he was the second-team All-Pac-12 kicker last season. They know each other.
"He taught me everything I know," Horn said.
Once rated as one of the nation's leading schoolboy kicking prospects, Horn mirrors a PGA Tour golfer when he stands up there and sends balls at the goalposts from long range with a definitive draw.
Graded by nationally known the Chris Sailer kicking camp, Horn was described as Division 1 ready heading into his high school senior year. His range was 55 yards under pressure, 62 in practice. He was described as good under pressure. A capable punter. Final words of praise: phenomenal prospect.
"He's definitely a weapon," Jaeger said.
Horn made Henry a lot better last season. His next move would be to replace the veteran. Either way, the Huskies can't lose.
SUMMARY: Horn has 78 kickoffs under his belt, nothing that went up on the scoreboard. He has been as good as advertised.
GRADE (1 to 5): The Hawaiian kicker grades out at a 3 because he's only handled kickoffs so far. It appears all he needs is patience.
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