Tory Horton is a brilliant receiver for the CSU Rams. He’s single-handedly continuing the legacy of Colorado State being known locally as WRU.

Last year, Horton was Colorado State’s offense, scoring 8 touchdowns, or nearly one-third of the team’s points (48-of-158 total points). Oh, and he scored a 72-yard punt return touchdown against Wyoming, too.

But beyond just scoring, Horton put up monstrous receiving numbers last year with Clay Millen throwing him the ball. His 71 receptions and 1,131 receiving yards were each far and away the best numbers of any Rams player last year. And his 15.9 yards per reception were second-best on the squad behind only Justus Ross-Simmons (16.3 YPC), but more on that youngster in a minute.

Tory Horton was solid at Nevada, with 72 receptions for 995 yards and 10 touchdowns in two seasons there, before coming to Colorado State and following head coach Jay Norvell in 2022. Thanks to those two seasons, coupled with his phenomenal output last year with the Rams, Horton has been hailed as the best receiver in the Group of Five conferences.

That, per Lorenzo Reyna, who put together this great profile on Horton last week.

As one can see in the aforementioned tweet, not only is he the best G5 receiver, but he’s got arguably the best chances of being named an All-American despite not playing for a Power Five Conference school. Obviously, it’s easier to make the All-American team when you play for a bigger school which plays on national television all the time, but Colorado State players have done so in the recent past.

Rashard Higgins (2014) was the first CSU All-American since 1995 and one of only three consensus All-Americans in Colorado State history. He was also the first receiver in a long line of stars we’ve seen in Fort Collins over the last 10 years.

Next was Michael Gallup in 2017, and most recently, tight end Trey McBride was named an All-American in 2021.

Horton would have to build on last season’s impressive stats to find himself on that list with former Rams pass-catchers, but he’s already getting attention, so that’s a positive.

A few more interesting stats from SIS Football: Horton is a tough man to take down, with the most broken/missed tackles forced in the Mountain West Conference at 18:

Tory Horton is WR1, but who steps up around him is key

While Horton is a senior, there are nine receivers on Colorado State’s current roster who are either freshmen or sophomores. And some of them must step into a bigger role this year to not only take pressure off of Horton, but to benefit the Rams offense in general.

The aforementioned Ross-Simmons is definitely one receiver to keep an eye on. As a freshman last year, he put together a 24-reception, 424-yard year with three touchdowns. At 6’3″ and 205 pounds, Ross-Simmons has size to go up and get balls over shorter defensive backs. He’s also got solid speed, showcased on the 76-yard reception last year as well as his dazzling Green and Gold Game performance this April.

Also impressive in April were the two Browns; Louis and Vince.

As a freshman, Louis Brown had 12 receptions for 98 yards, and he impressed in April with a 30-yard touchdown on a go route which was beautifully thrown by Millen.

At a shocking 6’7″ and 235 pounds, Vince Brown is listed as a tight end and hauled in a sensational one-handed touchdown in the Green and Gold Game. Maybe even more impressive at that tight end spot was Jordan Williams, a 6’5″ 215-pound sophomore who knows how to gain yards after the catch with ease.

Finally, the wildcard is SMU transfer Dylan Goffney, a junior looking to make an immediate impact on the team. Last year at SMU he had 18 receptions for 369 yards and two TDs.

It’s possible the Rams line up Horton and Ross-Simmons outside, with Goffney in the slot, as the transfer can play inside or outside with confidence.

And no matter how Norvell decides to play his receiver corps this year, the Rams are in much better shape going into 2023 than they were a year ago. Look for the Air Raid offense to finally get off the ground this year in Fort Collins.