Auburn freshman Horton lost aunt, brothers to Katrina

Auburn freshman defensive tackle Alonzo Horton left his home in New Orleans for school last month.

Now Horton might not have a home to go back to, and more tragically has lost at least three close family members to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, The Huntsville (Ala.) Times reported.

Horton learned early last week an aunt died in the flooding after Katrina passed. Then Horton was told last Friday that two of his younger brothers had perished when the high school gymnasium in which they were seeking shelter was flooded.

"It's a tough deal, very tough," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville told the Times. "He's obviously not taking it very well. None of us are taking it very well."

Programs throughout the Gulf Coast region have been hard hit, with the Southeastern Conference counting numerous players and coaches still anxiously awaiting word of lives left behind back home.

Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom told the New Orleans Times-Picayune, for a story on its Web site, he had several players awaiting information about their families and homes.

"Most of them have learned their families are safe, but we are doing counseling services for them," Croom told the Times-Picayune. "But we know we've got kids who may have lost everything."

Horton, in an interview with the Anniston (Ala.) Star the day before Katrina struck, was already turning his thoughts to home.

"They say the storm's so bad, it might be two weeks or a month before they can go back home, because the water's going to be so high," Horton told the Star that Sunday. "They're expecting, on our side of New Orleans, like 30 feet of water."

Horton had already learned from his grandmother that loved ones were going to stay in harm's way.

"She told me that … they couldn't really make it out of the city," Horton told the Star. "They got kind of stranded."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.