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“There’s no place like home”: Malik Hornsby’s journey to Texas State

Texas State redshirt junior quarterback Malik Hornsby (4) throws a pass during the spring game, Saturday, April. 22, 2023, at Bobcat Stadium.
Sarah Manning
Texas State redshirt junior quarterback Malik Hornsby (4) throws a pass during the spring game, Saturday, April. 22, 2023, at Bobcat Stadium.

For redshirt junior quarterback Malik Hornsby, the opportunity to play football at Texas State is a dream come true.

At his first press conference as a member of Texas State, the signal caller was all smiles as he spoke about how grateful he was to be in his current position.

“I have a great opportunity to come play with a team that I’m very happy about. Just to be in Texas close to my family, it’s amazing,” Hornsby said.

Since joining the team in January, coaches and teammates have raved about Hornsby’s arm strength, maturity, work ethic, leadership and mostly his track speed. His teammate sophomore wide receiver Kole Wilson said that Hornsby is a leader on and off the field.

“He just brings a lot to the game with his legs and his arm. He can stretch the field and when a play crashes he can make something happen,” Wilson said.

Hornsby is a native of Texas, having grown up in the town of Missouri City located in the greater Houston area.

Hornsby began playing football at 4-years-old and by the time he was 13, he came to the realization that football could be a part of his life for many years.

“I was playing high school football as a seventh and eighth grader,” Hornsby said. “Then when I got to high school I started as a freshman on varsity. Doing that and going to workouts and seeing guys around the country putting my talent with their talent and coming out as the best I knew I had a chance at this.”

Coming out of high school, Hornsby was rated as a consensus four-star prospect and was selected to play in the 2020 All-American Bowl in San Antonio. He committed to the University of Arkansas over programs such as Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M and others.

Hornsby said he doesn’t regret his decision to commit to Arkansas and believes it was an experience he needed.

“Going to Arkansas was a great experience to get away from home and to become a young man. I learned so much from being there. Coach [Sam Pittman] taught me so much. I think it helped me with my maturity mentally, physically and becoming the leader I am today,” Hornsby said.

During three seasons with the Razorbacks Hornsby appeared in a total of 16 games but was unable to lock up the permanent starting quarterback job. After the 2022-23 season, Hornsby wanted a fresh start and chose to leave the Razorbacks.

“I decided to transfer because I felt like I’m good enough to have my own team,” Hornsby said. “And I wanted to come back home. There’s no place like home.”

Hornsby became one of the most coveted prospects in the transfer portal as several schools began recruiting him including Texas State.

Texas State head coach G.J. Kinne said he began recruiting Hornsby immediately upon hearing he had put his name in the portal.

“As soon as he got in the portal, we were on him,” Kinne said. “He had a couple of different options but I think the ability to stay in Texas to play in a scheme like this, I think that really sold him.”

Aside from Texas State, the University of Nebraska tried to recruit Hornsby because of Nebraska head coach Matt Rhule’s relationship with the quarterback, which was developed during Rhule’s head coach tenure at Baylor.

Reports said Hornsby took an official visit to Nebraska to meet with Rhule and his staff. Following the visit, it appeared Hornsby was going to be wearing red and white this fall. However, on Jan. 9, he made the announcement that he commited to Texas State over Nebraska.

Hornsby, who hasn’t publicly commented much about his recruitment since committing to Texas State, said two pivotal factors that led him to pick the Bobcats over the Cornhuskers were distance and the ability to play his position like he wants to.

“I like coach Matt Rhule. It’s all love for those guys [Nebraska] but that’s like 15 hours away from my house,” Hornsby said. “That’s not a trip that my mom would enjoy to make… I felt like coach G.J. [Kinne] and coach Leftwich were going to give me the greatest opportunity to play the position I want to play. So that’s why I’m here.”

According to Kinne, he never had any doubt about which position Hornsby should play.

“From the very first time I texted him I said, ‘You’re a quarterback. That’s the way we see you. We believe in you. We’re going to continue to develop you’,” Kinne said.

Since Kinne was hired in December anticipation and expectations have grown for the 2023-24 season. Many believe this team will not only be able to compete for the Sun Belt Conference Championship, but also secure that long-sought-after first bowl game appearance in program history.

Hornsby said he feels no pressure by being the man under center expected to lead the Texas State football program to these unprecedented new heights.

“I’m built for this moment. I’m going to be prepared for the moment. If it is me, I’m going to take my opportunity and run with it and put my team in the best predicaments that I can put them in,” Hornsby said.

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