Despite going undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft, USC defensive end Wes Horton is officially a professional football player, having signed as a free agent with the Carolina Panthers, as he announced via Facebook.
Horton played in all but three games while at USC, as he split starting time for much of his career with Devon Kennard at the defensive end spot opposite of Nick Perry. He finished with 14.5 career sacks, 5.5 of those coming in his senior season, when he was a full-time starter in place of an injured Kennard.
Coming out of high school, Horton was 4-star prospect and the third ranked defensive end in the draft, yet he was often out-shadowed by USC’s other ends, like Perry and Morgan Breslin. That said, in 2012, Horton used his full-time starting role to improve his tackling, as the senior finished with a career-high 43 tackles, 6.5 of which came behind the line of scrimmage.
While Horton has the size and form of a prototypical crashing defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, his inconsistency in getting off his blocks could push him outside as a hybrid end/linebacker project.
Going into the draft, Horton was listed in the seventh round by some mock drafts, a notion strengthened by a snub from the NFL Combine.