The underdog role still plays for former Vienna Vikings/Milano Seamen WR Reece Horn

By Dylan Rubino / The Alliance

MEMPHIS — Growing up in Indianapolis, Memphis Express wide receiver Reece Horn idolized the likes of Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.

Horn recalls the days of watching tape of Harrison and Wayne and at times, rocking the Manning No. 18 Colts jersey.

His dream was to one day play for his childhood favorite team and make a name for himself next to Harrison and Wayne.

“Any hometown kid, no matter what city you’re in, you always wanted to play for that professional team,” Horn said. “It was always a dream of mine growing up.”

In his senior year at Cathedral High School just outside Indianapolis, Horn racked up 1,419 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns and helped lead the Fighting Irish to a Class 4A State Championship.

Not heavily recruited out of high school, Horn decided to stay home and play football at the University of Indianapolis, a Division II program.

In the summer of 2015, Horn was with the Indianapolis Colts, but not as a player. He worked for his childhood team as an intern in their community relations department and walked by names like Andrew Luck and Adam Vinatieri every day. Right after that, he went on to set records for the Greyhounds in his last year in college.

Horn played four years for the Greyhounds and finished his career with 3,562 yards and 31 touchdowns, and was named an AFCA All-America his senior year.

Reece Horn playing with Milano Seamen in Italy Photo: Dario Fumagalli

Despite the record-setting numbers, Horn went undrafted and was left searching for a shot in professional football.

It was a blessing in disguise for the Indianapolis native, providing a chip on a shoulder that would propel his professional football career.

“It’s tougher for the small-school guys to get a shot. There’s no doubt about it,” Horn said. “You just always have to search and find a way to make it work. You have to make plays when your number is called. It’s what I’ve been doing ever since. Nothing has changed for me.”

Horn went undrafted in the 2016 NFL Draft and went back to the Colts, but this time as a football player. Horn received a call after the draft and found out the Colts invited him to their rookie minicamp.

“Chuck Pagano, the head coach at the time, he was a great guy and he showed me a lot of love,” Horn said. “Just being around the other guys there and when it really came down to it, I just came ready to work every day.”

Horn got another shot and was invited to try out for the Tennessee Titans and was signed on June 3, 2016 but did not make the team.

“What I learned from there, I applied to my next experiences in my career,” Horn said. “Everywhere that I’ve been, it’s been a building block for my career.”

His journey in professional football next took him overseas, where he played in Italy for the Milano Seamen and then spent most of 2018 with the Vienna Vikings in Austria.

Reece Horn playing for Dacia Vienna Vikings Photo: Andreas Bischof

It was a “culture shock” for Horn going overseas, but it was an interesting process and one that he credits for really boosting his football career.

“They were about as professional a team as you can get and that’s exactly what I was looking for,” Horn said. “Vienna was a great city for me. It was a wonderful experience for me with great competition.”

With two weeks left in the season for the Vienna Vikings, Horn got a call from his agent saying to send him his recent film.

The Memphis Express wanted to sign the Indianapolis product.

“When I finally signed, I was ready to roll,” Horn said. “That call was amazing. Knowing Mike Singletary was the head coach, I had to seize the moment.”

Through the first three weeks of the season, Horn leads the Express in receiving yards and is tied for the team lead in receptions.

But nothing changes for Horn, who thrives as the underdog as he builds a name for himself in The Alliance of American Football.

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