Those watching the Marshall High School football team the last two seasons know how easy its offense has made the game look at times.
The engineer of the Buffalos’ prolific attack has now been recognized as one of the best seniors in the country.
Quarterback Malik Hornsby, the No. 6 dual-threat quarterback recruit in the nation, was officially selected for the 2020 All-American Bowl during a celebratory event at the school Wednesday afternoon. Hornsby will play in the 20th annual East vs. West game at noon Jan. 4 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, where 100 of the country’s top high school seniors will showcase their skills in front of a national television audience on NBC.
“It feels really great. I’m thankful to my family and my team to be the first one coming out of Marshall to play in this game,” Hornsby said. “I couldn’t do it without my coaches and my team, especially my offensive line. Without them, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Along with former Marshall tailback Jerry Davis and current backfield mate Devon Achane, Hornsby has led the most explosive attack in District 11-5A since taking over the starting job Sept. 29, 2018, against Sterling. Marshall has gone 21-2 in his 23 starts, averaging nearly 51 points per game and earning a berth in the Class 5A Division II state title game last season.
“He came in very mature, seasoned and extremely focused at wanting to play and wanting to get better,” said James Williams, Marshall’s seventh-year head coach. “He learned our system very quickly, meshed with the team quickly, and the guys gravitate to him now.”
Over the last two seasons, Hornsby has amassed more than 5,100 total yards and 82 touchdowns (46 passing, 36 rushing) in the Buffalos’ black and gold. What has most struck Williams, though, was Hornsby’s desire to shore up every aspect of his game.
Following a 2018 season in which he was a first-team All-District 11-5A selection with more than 2,700 total yards, Williams noted Hornsby put in offseason work on fundamentals and footwork to improve his passing accuracy in 2019.
And though the raw numbers (58.9 percent completions this season compared to 58.6 in 2018) may not indicate much improvement, Williams knows what his eyes have seen and that the results speak for themselves. Hornsby had 23 touchdown passes without an interception heading into last week’s second-round playoff game against A&M Consolidated.
“(Malik) doesn’t want to be known as a running quarterback,” he said. “He wants to be a quarterback; he’s just blessed with that natural running ability.”
It certainly has been noticed, and not just at the high school level. Hornsby holds more than 25 major-college scholarship offers from programs such as Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Texas, Texas A&M and the University of Houston. He will announce his commitment shortly before the All-American Bowl.
“Thank you for getting me to where I am today, and I hope the support doesn’t stop until I’ve accomplished my goal,” he told supporters Wednesday.
That’s a given, Williams said.
“We know (Hornsby’s) future is very bright,” he said. “We’re going to be supporting him all the way to the end.”