It was a difficult decision. It was a well-thought-out decision. It was a heart-felt decision.
It was a football decision, a life decision, a COVID-19 decision.
It wasn’t a right-or-wrong decision. It was a good-better-best decision.
On Monday, December 7, Evan Horn decided to enter the NCAA’s Division One football transfer portal. In a way, the former Cedar Crest star was declaring himself a free agent, saying he was willing to transfer from the New Hampshire football program if a better opportunity presented itself.
“A lot of thought was put into it,” said Horn. “I’m not a guy who takes things lightly or who’s looking to transfer. That’s not how my parents raised me. I think you know that about me. I want to finish what I start. After months of thought, this is probably the best thing for me.
“I usually make decisions with the best interests of other people in mind, but I made this decision for myself,” continued Horn. “I wish I wasn’t in this position. But at the end of the day, I have to make the best decision for me. I love the New Hampshire football program and I gave it my all. But in a couple of years I don’t want to look back and think, ‘What if?”
By entering the NCAA’s transfer portal, the 6-0, 206-pound Horn made himself available to any Division One football program in need of a heady, play-making safety. Still extremely early in the process, Horn said he has already receivied interest from a handful of Division One programs, including a few from the so-called ‘Power Five’ conferences.
Horn, who graduated from New Hampshire last spring, has one year of eligbility remaining.
“About five to ten schools have reached out to me,” said Horn. “Right now, they’re kind of feeling things out. They’re trying to figure out who I am and what I want out of it. It’s kind of like the high school recruiting process all over again.
“Before I put my name in the portal, I really didn’t have any schools in mind,” Horn continued. “I wanted to put my name in the portal. I’m only going to go to a school if it’s the right fit. I’m not going to go be the back-up to a back-up. I’m looking to compete for a starting job. I only have one year left. It’s going to come down to playing time and opportunity.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Horn had every intention of returning to New Hampshire for his final year of eligibility.
But because of the Coronavirus, the Wildcats postponed their 2020 fall season until the spring of 2021. New Hampshire is scheduled to play a six-game Colonial Athletic Conference schedule beginning March 6.
If the NCAA Division One football transfer portal works out for Horn, he would play for his new team in the fall of 2021. But if it doesn’t, he could still return to New Hampshire, by mid January.
“To make a long story short, I wasn’t at school this semester at all,” said Horn. “The team wanted me there for the spring semester, but there were no classes I could’ve taken in the fall. I spent this whole semester away from the team. If things don’t work out, I could go back to New Hampshire. But right now, I’m in the portal, and I don’t want to look back five years from now and think about the opportunities that could’ve been.
“Around June, the coaches felt we were still going to have a season,” Horn added. “All the games were still scheduled. In July, I still thought we were going to have an opportunity to play. I never thought they’d cancel it. But it’s the cards you’re dealt. My first reaction was, ‘This (stinks). What am I going to do now?’ But it is what it is.”
After improving each and every year at New Hampshire, Horn really came into his own last year during a junior season in which he led the Wildcats in tackles and scored his fourth career touchdown on an interception. He was named all-CAC second-team as a junior.
At Cedar Crest, Horn excelled in football, basketball and track and field. He chose to play football in college, but also played 14 games for New Hampshire’s Division One basketball team during the 2017-18 season.
“New Hampshire was a great experience,” said Horn, a 2016 graduate of CCHS. “I have the utmost respect for the coaching staff. They always had my back. I had a number of conversations with (head coach) Sean McDonnell, and they were tough talks to have. I was blessed to have the opportunity to play at New Hampshire.
“COVID-19 has affected everyone,” added Horn. “At the end of the day, I’m going to have to live with my situation. It (stinks) not playing football, but there are a lot worse things. I think the best case scenario would be for me to be picked up by a respectable program. I can compete for a job, play and prove that I belonged on that level to begin with.”
It would seem that Horn’s decision to enter the NCAA Division One transfer portal also came with the thought of continuing to play football beyond college. Given his athleticism, feel for the game and ability to make plays, his chances of making an NFL roster may again come down to opportunity and timing.
“I mean yeah, I do,” said Horn, of his desire to play football beyond college. “I’m just kind of rolling with it. It it happens, it happens. It’s a goal. I’d like to experience that.
“I think I do (want to continue playing), Everyone thinks they do,” Horn continued. “I thought I did pretty well at UNH. I have to prove I can play at the FBS level. What I’ve found about the transfer portal is that it’s all about timing. It’s all about knowing people.
“I’m kind of learning (the NCAA Division One football transfer portal) as I go. I put my name in the portal. Every coach gets to see it and the players who are in it. Coaches can contact you if they’re interested.”