January 29, 2010

Thornton still making up his mind

STONE MOUNTAIN - There will no more interviews for Stephenson High's MikeThornton.

In fact, the big defensive tackle affirmed Friday that his interview with UGASports would be his final one until he announced the college of his choice Wednesday morning.

"It's been a fun process, but I'm ready to sign my name," the four-star performer said.

The question is; who will be the lucky school?

Thornton only made three official visits during the recruiting process - to Georgia, Kentucky and Penn State.

But when it comes to making his final selection, Thornton insists he still doesn't have a clue and won't until he huddles with family members and Stephenson coach Ron Gartrell this weekend.

"It's still a broad view of schools. I only took three official visits, but that was because I didn't have time to get to other schools," Thornton said. "I could possibly sign anywhere."

But despite taking only three visits, Thornton said he's very meticulous with his research.

He's gone over his favorite schools with the proverbial fine-tooth comb, focusing not only on each institution's academic situation, but intense research on his potential coaches and their backgrounds.

There are certain things he's looking for from his future college coach.

"I want to be coached hard," Thornton (6-foot-2, 280) said. "I want a coach who I can come and talk to about anything, kind of like another father figure on campus."

Thornton had kind words to say about each of the three schools who received official visits.
On Kentucky: "Joker Phillips is the head coach over there and I sense a real change going on."
On Penn State: "Penn State is a great place to play college football. They've got the largest stadium in college football. They've got great academics and a great alumni base."

On Georgia: "Georgia is Georgia; they've got a big alumni base, too, and they play good ball."

Thornton also had glowing words for Auburn.

"That's a great program," said Thornton, who will major in either communications or business administration. "They've got a great recruiting class with their new coach Gene Chizic. Everybody thought he was going to come in and have a losing season, but he came in and turned that program around. I see great things happening at Auburn."

Tommy Thigpen has recruited Thornton for Auburn while Rodney Garner has done so for Georgia.

"Coach Garner is cool. I have a pretty good relationship with him," Thornton said. "We can talk about anything. He's a good recruiter and has gotten some good guys at Georgia."

He has also met with new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who talked with the player about how he would fit into the Bulldogs' new 3-4 scheme.

Thornton concedes that's something he wonders about as well.

"Great players can adjust. I've only really played in a 4-3 defense and that's really what everybody's recruited me to play in a 3-technique," Thornton said. "At Georgia, they're recruiting me to play the 5-technique, the nose, and the other 5-technique. I feel like I can change to play anything, but I'm not too fond of the 3-4 defense."

But Thornton isn't ruling anything out.

"It seemed like it (the 3-4) would be fun," Thornton said. "I played some nose in the 1-technique, but it seemed like it would be kind of fun."
Either way, Thornton said he won't be rushing into any final decision.

Thornton said it's served him better to think things through.

"I'm really just not into rushing things," he said. "Some people can talk you into things real quick, but I wanted to make my own decision myself so that's why I extended (his decision)."

Thornton said he will sign Wednesday morning at 9.

"I think I'll bring great leadership," Thornton said. "I'm going to push myself and hopefully by doing that it's going to push them to work harder as well."

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