UPDATED: Here’s my story for tomorrow’s paper.
By Jimmy Durkin
Oakland High football player Damante Horton can enter his senior season with a free and clear mind.
The talented playmaker gave his oral commitment to Washington State on Monday and will join the Cougars in the fall of 2010.
“I think it helps set him up for a great senior year,” Oakland coach Desmond Gumbs said. “He knows he’s going up to play Division I football in the Pac-10.”
Horton had more than a dozen offers and decided on a school that, according to Gumbs, had Horton listed as their top choice to play defensive back.
“(Washington State) is very excited about him playing DB,” Gumbs said. “He was No. 1 on their board. He’s a great find for them.”
Horton had a breakout junior season for Oakland, which went 8-3 and earned a share of the Oakland Athletic League’s regular-season title with a 4-1 league mark. That came just a year removed from an 0-10 overall record.
“I’m glad we were able to turn (the program) around,” Horton said. “Since I’ve been getting scholarship offers, everybody else has been trying to get scholarships, too. It feels real good to be part of something like that.”
In 11 games, he caught a league-leading 39 passes for 570 yards and also had 60 carries for 578 yards. Defensively, he was a shutdown corner with game-breaking ability, returning two interceptions for touchdowns.