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Q&A: Carolina Panthers defensive end Wes Horton

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Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
Carolina Panthers defensive end Wes Horton celebrates his fourth-quarter sack of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon last Sunday.

10 questions with Panthers defensive end Wes Horton, the undrafted rookie from Southern Cal who had two sacks last week against Tampa Bay:

Q. Are you from Southern California?

A. I am, born and raised in L.A. I’m from the San Fernando Valley area, 20-30 minutes away from USC. Very convenient, very close. And it was a good time at SC, knowing I was that close to home.

Q. Did you have any East Coast or southern schools recruit you?

A. Yeah, there were a few. I had a scholarship (offer) from LSU. That was probably the primary school looking at me. But I committed relatively early my junior year of high school. It was the easy decision for me. SC was dominant at the time. Five-star recruits were coming in and going to the NFL. I thought it was a good fit for me, and it was close to home. And just the competitive spirit that they have at SC. They like to throw freshmen in there right off the bat and see if they can stick.

Q. What did you think about Ed Orgeron not getting the Trojans job?

A. I was a little disappointed. I think the players wanted him to stick, the fans wanted him to stick. Everyone around SC wanted him to stick. But ultimately it was Pat Haden’s decision. Pat Haden’s been around football for a long time.

Q. Did not getting drafted motivate you?

A. Without a doubt. I wanted to prove to everyone that I can make an NFL team and I can contribute. Playing well last week was just one step of where I ultimately want to get to. I think it was a great start and confidence-wise, I can really build off that the rest of the season.

Q. Your dad (Mike Horton) was Gemini on ‘American Gladiators.’ What’s your best Gladiators story?

A. I don’t remember too much of it because I was too young. But I have pictures of us playing on the set, climbing up the Eliminator. We were rolling around in the balls. So we had full access to all the sets.

Q. Any other brushes with fame?

A. My dad’s a celebrity trainer, I guess you would say. He trains all kinds of actors and rappers. So every once in a while I’ll pop through his work and see a few of his clients. He trains Xzibit, Morris Chestnut, Omar Epps. He used to train Jaime Pressly. Otis from the Temptations. He’s been training for about 20-25 years, so a lot of people know him.

Q. Did he play football?

A. He did. He played for the Eagles and Patriots, then played in the USFL and the CFL. In the USFL he played with Reggie White. He had to block Reggie White every day in practice with the Memphis Showboats.

Q. Can you take him?

A. All the way up until recently, I’ve always been pretty intimidated by my father. He’s a black belt in karate. He could probably kick anyone’s (butt). So I would imagine he could probably kick my (butt).

Q. In-N-Out Burger or Bojangles’?

A. In-N-Out. It’s not even close. I like (Bojangles’), it’s a good change-up because we don’t have it in L.A. But I can see it getting kind of old after a while.

Q. If they brought Gladiators back again, could you hang?

A. Of course I could hang. I’ve got Gemini in my blood.

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