MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Last football season, senior-transfer Timmy Horne became a leader right away on the defensive line, on and off the field. Because of that, Horne became a favorite amongst players and coaches.

Horne is now on the Atlanta Falcons roster, and scooped up a fumble in the team’s preseason game on August 12. Defensive tackles coach Mike Tuiasosopo was happy to hear of his former player’s success.

“Did he?” Tuiasosopo asked when told of the fumble recovery. “I missed it, that’s the first I’ve heard of it.”

“I know they’re really excited about Timmy over there,” Tuiasosopo said. “What a great place in life for him…I’m proud of him, he deserves every good thing that comes to him.”

With Horne gone, someone needed to step up in his place. Luckily for the Wildcats, they have another senior lineman, Eli Huggins, that hasn’t missed a beat in the leadership position.

“[Horne’s] role last year is very similar to Eli’s this year,” Tuiasosopo said. “Those are older guys that really led from the front…I hate to use the word, ‘alpha,’ but those guys were alpha males. They knew what needed to get done.”

Tuiasosopo says that having Eli return for his final season is the biggest for the defense over the offseason.

“I think he was our best recruit, he was our number one recruit in that class,” Tuiasosopo said. “The experience that he brings, reliable, a gentleman, a true gentleman. Just a great joy to coach, I wish they were all like them.”

Huggins’ play and actions in the locker room are both reasons why younger players look up to him, according to Tuiasosopo.

“The other thing that Eli has done for our room, anyway,” Tuiasosopo said, “is he has really been really good with our younger players. It’s been amazing, just amazing. It’s a part of our culture…Eli’s been that guy, he’s played a lot of ball around here.”