Cougar corner is a quarterback’s worst nightmare

By Chris Shaw, Evergreen Football reporter

He sat quietly at a table, talking calmly about how much he admired his mom. It didn’t take much more than the grin on his face to see how he felt about the biggest role model in his life.

Senior cornerback Damante Horton grew up in a rough neighborhood in Oakland, Calif., but his mom made sure he stayed out of whatever trouble was around him.

“She always supported me in whatever I did so she made sure I was at practice all the time and doing what I was supposed to do,” the self-proclaimed momma’s boy said.

He said he used football and other sports like basketball and baseball as escapes from the environment around him.

“I feel like, growing up, there was a lot of trouble always around but it was just me trying to get away from that and it helped me get here,” Horton said.

Even though Horton is away at school at Washington State, he still stays in touch with his mom, Rozenna, and she finds ways to see him at games. He said he loves everything about her, but that one of his favorite things is how talkative she is.

“She’s always talking to me, I talk to her almost every day,” Horton said. “We just talk about everything.”

Rozenna raised Horton and his younger brother and sister as a single mother doing social work. Horton said his mom inspired him to pursue a similar job when he graduates from college.

As a criminal justice major, he would one day like to be a juvenile probation officer. Horton said he has helped kids at recreational parks in Oakland and wants to help those in need wherever he can.

However, he would like to go to the NFL after college, and would choose that first if he got the opportunity.

Nearing the end of his college career, Horton has dealt with his fair share of competition and adversity. He has not shied away from it and has embraced it instead.

“I love competition, so whenever I get to go against a good receiver, I love it,” Horton said.

He also thrives on the competition between his own teammates, who motivate him to continue improving his skills.

Horton began his career with the Cougars in 2010. He steadily worked his way to an All-Pac-12 honorable mention in his sophomore season, during which he tied for the most interceptions in the conference. He started the first six games of his junior year, but then suddenly lost his starting job.

“I feel it motivated me,” Horton said. “Me not being on the field made me want to play even more and just coming into this season after that has made me even hungrier.”

Before he came to Washington State, Horton had the opportunity to go to many other schools. Horton, a three-star prospect who played both offense and defense in high school, said he received offers from Arizona State, Oregon State, Colorado, Utah, Utah State, Fresno State, and UNLV.

Horton said he loves the WSU fan base, which is so into all the sports.

“I just love the atmosphere,” Horton said. “When I came on my visit, I just loved it here, and the coaching staff and all the players.”

It remains to be seen where Horton will end up after he leaves WSU. However, it seems that he will never forget who helped him get to where he is today. When asked what he would do with his first NFL check, if he earns one, he replied simply that he would buy his mom anything she wants.