Colfax-Mingo senior Jayden Horrach saw Mount Marty University as a place where something special could happen. And he wanted to be a part of it.
Horrach had interest from William Penn and St. Ambrose but chose a brand new football program at Mount Marty. That’s where Horrach will play at the next level and he made it official last week at Colfax-Mingo High School.
“I chose Mount Marty because of the experience of the coaches,” Horrach said. “The strength coach has been around almost every level of football and the head coach has been doing it for years.
“Also, it’s a brand new program so I saw a good opportunity to do something special.”
Horrach will be a part of Mount Marty’s first season in the fall of 2021. And a familiar face is leading the Lancers program moving forward.
Mike Woodley started and built Grand View University into an NAIA title contender. He hopes to do the same at Mount Marty, which is located in Yankton, South Dakota.
Joining Woodley at Mount Marty, among other coaches, will be offensive line coach Heath Zuck, who helped Woodley start the Grand View program and spent 10 years in Des Moines.
Zuck was made aware of Horrach while golfing at a Grand View outing with Colfax-Mingo head football coach Jeff Lietz. Zuck’s first contact with Horrach came on Sept. 19.
“I have known Jeff for a long time now, having coached his son Jake at Grand View,” Zuck said. “He told me that if we could get Jayden, he’d be a heck of a steal. I have 100 percent trust in everything he has to say so I told him I’d absolutely check him out.
“After doing that, I was more than excited. I remember watching his HUDL tape four or five times in a row. I told myself, man this kid can definitely play at the next level and I am going to lay it on thick and get him to be part of our first football team.”
Lietz knows the coaching staff at Mount Marty very well. And he knows he will fit into what they are trying to build in South Dakota.
“I like the staff. I trust the coaches,” Lietz said. “I know they will take care of Jayden. I think his style of play will fit in there. And because it’s a new program, it should give him an opportunity to get on the field sooner.”
The plan is for Horrach to start his collegiate career as a running back, but he could play some fullback or even slot receiver, too, according to Zuck.
“Jayden brings an immediate toughness with him,” Zuck said. “Not only is he a good player, but he’s a good person. That’s the type of kid we are looking for to create the culture we are wanting here.”
On the field, Horrach rushed for 608 yards and five touchdowns as a senior at Colfax-Mingo. He averaged 4.3 yards per carry.
Horrach gained 1,007 rushing yards and scored 12 rushing TDs as a junior. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry that season.
He also had 26 catches for 184 yards combined the past two seasons.
“With Jayden, we have a running back who can make guys miss and run them over when he decides to,” Zuck said. “Some of the intangibles at that position are not coachable. He’s a natural running back who is incredibly deceptive when it comes to his speed.”
Lietz expects Horrach to play running back at Mount Marty, but he would be a great option at fullback, too.
“He’ll get his shot at running back,” Lietz said. “He can handle the tackle to tackle stuff, but he’s got enough speed, too. He’s a violent runner so he could get opportunities at fullback as well. I’m excited for him, and we’re proud of him.”
Mount Marty, like Grand View University, is an NAIA school which plays in the Great Plains Athletic Conference with recent national champion Morningside College.
Another assistant coach on the staff is Grant Rohach, a former Iowa State quarterback.
“Playing college football was very important to me,” Horrach said. “It’s been a goal of mine since the first time I played. I am glad the hard work paid off.”
Horrach plans to major in exercise science and will take classes in physical therapy as well.