Don’t underestimate Penn State in race to land Thornton

Georgia and Auburn are generally considered the leaders in the recruitment of Stephenson defensive tackle Mike Thornton. But don’t underestimate Penn State in the sweepstakes to land the state’s top uncommitted prospect.

Stephenson's Mike Thornton is one of the top uncommitted prospects in the state for the Class of 2010. (Photo by Chip Towers)

Stephenson defensive tackle Mike Thornton is considered one of the top uncommitted prospects in the state for the Class of 2010. (Photo by Chip Towers)

Thornton, a 6-foot-2, 280-pound senior from Stone Mountain, said the only recruiting trip he is absolutely certain he and his father will make this fall is to State College, Penn., to check out the Nittany Lions.

“I’ve been watching them for a while,” Thornton said earlier this week. “I feel like they’ve got a real good program. And I love their defensive line coach, Larry Johnson. He’s a great guy and a great coach who has put a lot of players in the league. They have a good business school, too. I’m definitely going up there to check it out.”

Thornton said he visited Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, Miami and Florida unofficially this summer. He has not decided if or when he’ll take other official visits this fall.

Thornton said his recruitment picked up dramatically after he was named defensive MVP of the Nike camp at UGA last spring. He said he has received about scholarship offers from about 30 schools.

“I wouldn’t say it’s confusing because I don’t let it confuse me,” Thornton said. “I stay in contact with the ones I need to and let them know what I’m thinking.”

Thornton said he talks regularly with coaches from Georgia and Auburn. He is originally from Columbus, which is only about 30 miles from the Auburn campus.

For now, though, Thornton is trying not to think much about the recruiting process. He said he’s trying to concentrate on getting ready for his senior season and trying to lead Stephenson to a state championship. The Jaguars open against McNair on Saturday.

“That’s all that’s on my mind,” Thornton said. “Last year we had a lot of great players but we couldn’t put it together in the playoffs. We’ve been doubted a lot but I think this is the year.”

Thornton said he hopes to improve on last season, when he had 95 tackles and five sacks.

“Last year my my goals on defense were to get 100 tackles and I came up five short,” he said. “This year I want to get 120 tackles and 10 sacks.”

54 comments Add your comment

Big Dan

August 27th, 2009
11:06 am

DAWG

August 27th, 2009
11:18 am

This dude will be a monster no matter where he goes.
Keeping my fingers crossed for UGA! we need the help on D.
GO DAWGS!

GeoffDawg

August 27th, 2009
11:20 am

Two things Mike:

1. Georgia has a top business school as well.
2. Joe Paterno can’t have too much time left. When he leaves, there’s no way of knowing what’s going to happen to that coaching staff.

reservoirDAWG

August 27th, 2009
11:34 am

Make the right decision for you . Let it not be the yellow bugs.

Duane

August 27th, 2009
11:38 am

Joe Paterno has said the successor will come from the staff, and DL coach Larry Johnson has coached several All American’s and NFL first round draft picks. Come play in the largest stadium in the country. We are….PENN STATE!!!

bap

August 27th, 2009
11:44 am

Hey, Mike – get a new perspective and experience life outside the SE….GO PENN STATE!

GeoffDawg

August 27th, 2009
11:46 am

Richard Seymour, Marcus Stroud, Jonathan Sullivan – all recent DTs playing in the NFL. Soon to be joined by Jeff Owens, Geno Atkins, and Kade Weston. You could be a part of that pipeline.

[...] Stephenson DT Mike Thornton will visit Penn State | AJC College Sports Recruiting Quote: [...]

[...] Stephenson DT Mike Thornton will visit Penn State | AJC College Sports Recruiting Quote: [...]

[...] Stephenson DT Mike Thornton will visit Penn State | AJC College Sports Recruiting Quote: [...]

T.O

August 27th, 2009
12:23 pm

I like our chances if it comes down to UGA and Auburn. Why would anyone want to go to Auburn? If your goal is to play in the NFL, UGA is the place for you.

mano17

August 27th, 2009
12:25 pm

THE MCNAIR MUSTANGS WILL RUN WILD ON THORNTUN AND THE REST OF HIS TEAM BECAUS THEY HAVE A MAJOR CHIP ON THEIR SHOULDER. WITH THE UNFAIR FIRING OF THEIR HEAD COACH AND HIS STAFF THEY ARE DEDICATING THEIR SEASON TO THEM AND THE HARD WORK AND TIME THEY PUT INTO THE PROGRAM. SO STEPHENSON WATCH OUT AND DONT TAKE THEM LIGHTLY

Ryan

August 27th, 2009
12:25 pm

Does GA TECH even recruit in the state of GA??? Why is everyone going to UGA???

mano17

August 27th, 2009
12:37 pm

IF U LIKE MICHEAL THORNTON U TECH AND UGA FANS CAN TAKE A LOOK @ DARIUS MURPHY 6′2 290 DT FROM MCNAIR HE IS JUST A JUNIOR 5.1 40YDS, 315LBS MAX BENCH, 250 PWR CLEAN 525 SQUAT, 16 REPS 225LBS AND HE WEARS #63

what???

August 27th, 2009
1:05 pm

Georgia has a top business school??? hahahahahahahahahaha

Keep thinking that.

sbw

August 27th, 2009
1:16 pm

I hope he visits State during a white out. If so, pack his bags! He’ll definitely be wearing blue and white next year. Before the black out comments come flying, check out a white out on youtube… so much more impressive.

EJ

August 27th, 2009
1:19 pm

The four years I spent at Penn State were the best in my life. The players on the team were great and the coaching staff was EXTREMELY supportive when it came to academics as well as on the field. Penn State opened so many doors to me after graduation– both on and off the football field. Plus once you are a Nittany Lion, you have a new family for life. Just look how many people commenting here (on a southern paper’s website) are pro-Penn State. You are never far from home when you are a Nittany Lion. WE ARE….. PENN STATE!

RonnieGarDner

August 27th, 2009
1:35 pm

One thing the kids that are considering and have already committed to Tennessee have said is, “they are impressed with the coaching staff, that they know how to get a player ready for the NFL” Just something to think about.

Chip Towers

August 27th, 2009
1:43 pm

Ryan: All 11 of Tech’s commitments thus far are from Georgia. So, yeah, they recruit the state. And they’re recruiting Thornton, too. For whatever reason he didn’t mention them prominently.

SuperB

August 27th, 2009
1:49 pm

Why would anybody go to a cold, middle-of-nowhere place like State College, Pa? Yuk.

Slick Willard

August 27th, 2009
1:55 pm

SBW, I lived in Denver for 15 years and we had lots of whiteouts. They were called SNOW.

Jag Fan

August 27th, 2009
1:58 pm

@ mano17: You keep throwing in the fact that the head coach got fired. Should we feel sorry for the team or are they going to run over “THORNTON” and Stephenson? Which one is it?

My guess is this. You should save all that loud talk for another team. Thornton and his team will handle McNair on Saturday.

UGA MEDIA GUIDE

August 27th, 2009
1:59 pm

(((( 42-42 )))) HAHAHAHAHAHAA

JJ

August 27th, 2009
1:59 pm

I have alot of respect for PSU but one must wonder how long JoePa will be around.

If I were a betting man, I’d say Thornton sticks around home and goes to one of those 2 SEC schools.

JBTs

August 27th, 2009
2:08 pm

Jonathan Sullivan is not in the NFL however he did get 1st round money to be a bust.

Young man consider all your options and make the choice that is best for you. That being said I have seen you play and hope you decide to become a dawg.

FRED

August 27th, 2009
2:28 pm

I CAN TELL YOU KID FROM LIVING 60 YEARS IN THR NORTH EAST YOU DO NOT WANT TO GO THEIR.NORTHEAST PEOPLE THING THAT ANYONE FROM THE SOUTH IS STUPID AND WILL ONLY ACCEPT YOU AS A FOOTBALL PLAYER.MOVING AWAY FROM THEIR TO FLORIDA AND NORTH CAROLINA WAS THE BEST THING MY WIFE AND I EVER DID.PLAY IN GEORGIA.

WTF???

August 27th, 2009
3:04 pm

Damn Fred, if the shoe fits……

aztec

August 27th, 2009
3:40 pm

any solid college football fan knows these so called recruiting experts are a joke, just ask paul johnson his feelings on them

Frank

August 27th, 2009
4:40 pm

Stay and play in the best college football conference in the nation, the SEC. The big televen is the SEC’s whipping boy, we know it and more importantly, they know it.

GATA

Haters

August 27th, 2009
4:53 pm

I’d advise reading the comments. Penn Staters talk about all the great things their institution has to offer while the UGA supporters just bash the other schools.

Just saying….

The Ole Ball Coach

August 27th, 2009
5:28 pm

cold in penn

Real Deal Lion

August 27th, 2009
8:44 pm

Please, no one knows how long any coach in the country has left. Joe Pa has clearly earned the right to go out on his terms and he will. Kids still want to play for him regardless of his age. Thornton’s options are all great, but Penn State is a great place academically and sports-wise.

Dekalb County Fan

August 27th, 2009
8:57 pm

mano17 no one cares about your departed coaches or your DT that weighs 400 pounds. your coach got fired for a reason keep that private. I hope McNair comes out with a chip then maybe they will get beat by 20 instead of 40.

NRBQ

August 27th, 2009
9:48 pm

Mano17:

You’re impressed by a 290-pounder who benches 315?

My kid weighs 170 and bench-presses 360.

And, please, the all-caps make you sound so desperate.

Oscar

August 27th, 2009
10:42 pm

Penn State is a great place for a young man to learn how to become a man. Larry Johnson is a giant among men, and if a DT player is headed towards pro football, then there is no better place.

Come to penn State. You’ll be happy you did!

Pago Flyer

August 27th, 2009
11:35 pm

We hope he likes to play in cold and snow and ice. You can bet PSU will sked his visit in Sept or early Oct.

renjr.

August 28th, 2009
2:13 am

To Mike Thornton…..sounds like you’ll do fine at whatever school you choose. But, at PSU, you’ll find that “family” is stressed. Coach Larry Johnson is very interest in stressing the “family” concept, not only with the team; but, also the importance of your family at home. And Joepa, after leading PSU to two Big Ten championships over the last 4 yrs., will be around for at least 5 more years…as he tells the reporters, when aaked. And last year, I don’t believe it snowed once at any home games. But, listen, when you get to the next level, (NFL), you’ll be playing in snow no matter what team that you get drafted and play for. Lots of NFL players come from the Northern schools. Again, lots of luck on your choice; but, I hope it’s PSU.

BigMike

August 28th, 2009
5:24 am

Seymour, Stroud, Golston, J. Fergunson,Q Moses, R. Geathers, C.Irvin, IN THE NFL. Next year Owens, Atkins, K Weston. Do you won’t to be on the winning team? Come to the Dawg pound !!

Murray County Indian

August 28th, 2009
8:28 am

I second BigMike, come to Georgia and you’ll play for a winner, if you’re any good you’ll get drafted, you’ll be on TV 10 times a year no counting a bowl game, you don’t have to go to class if you don’t want to, If you get arrested you’ll have to run 2 laps (about 800 yards), you can do anything you want in games, silly late hits, celebrate for minutes after every play no matter the outcome or the score of the game, no one will ever mention grades, diploma or classy while you’re here! And if you don’t win a game, it doesn’t matter we’ve got more excuses than any school in the country, ask the Gators!

GeoffDawg

August 28th, 2009
8:41 am

Yes, Georgia does have a top business school. Feel free to look it up for yourself.

PSU Fanucci

August 28th, 2009
9:34 am

Come join the PSU family young man!!!

WE ARE….. PENN STATE!

what???

August 28th, 2009
9:41 am

Penn State finished 38. Georgia did not crack the top 50. Even Georgia Tech was named. Not too bad for an engineering school.

http://bwnt.businessweek.com/interactive_reports/undergrad_bschool_2009/?chan=magazine+channel_special+report

Sanford Drive

August 28th, 2009
10:18 am

Ga Tech apparently didn’t crack the top 50 either.

GeoffDawg

August 28th, 2009
10:23 am

Current rankings from the Terry College of Business website:

Current Rankings
Undergraduate Programs
Bachelor of Business Administration
30th U.S. News & World Report
44th Business Week
Risk Management and Insurance
2nd U.S. News & World Report
Real Estate
3rd U.S. News & World Report
Management Information Systems
9th U.S. News & World Report
Accounting
7th Public Accounting Report
18th U.S. News & World Report
Graduate Program (MBA)
Master of Business Administration
45th Economists Intelligence Unit*
46th Financial Times*
49th U.S. News & World Report
Executive MBA
22nd Financial Times*
Management Information Systems
15th U.S. News & World Report
Accounting (MAcc)
10th Public Accounting Report
22nd U.S. News & World Report

http://www.terry.uga.edu/about/

Suck on that poindexter.

ShawDiddi

August 28th, 2009
11:23 am

War Eagle!!!! He is coming to Auburn.

Jonnyboy

August 28th, 2009
11:29 am

Geof how does measure up to Penn State?

tenn.DAWG

August 28th, 2009
11:37 am

Don’t worry,this is an intelligent young man.No doubt after asking all the questions and making all the deductions their is only one answer: UGA !!!
1 – Great Business School
2 – DT’s in the NFL (Add 2 more this yr.)
3 – Opportunity (see # 2 )
4 – Home State Hero
5 – Best Looking Women
See, No Worries.

GeoffDawg

August 28th, 2009
11:43 am

I don’t really know Johnny – I haven’t taken the time to look into Penn State’s curriculum. In my opinion, it’s very difficult to accurately compare rankings between schools because every publication is different and usually the schools don’t offer the exact same majors. In any case, I’m not here to bash Penn State’s program, just talk up Georgia’s.

Tech on the other hand – they like to brag about having a decent business school when in actuality, all they have is a management degree. It’s not even comparable to the scope and quality of the UGA’s Terry College. They’re an engineering school anyway, so what do you expect? It’s apples and oranges.

ShawDiddi

August 28th, 2009
2:47 pm

INSIDE INFO—– He will commmit to Auburn by the end of next month. WAR EAGLE

GeoffDawg

August 28th, 2009
3:40 pm

INSIDE INFO—- tiger eats war eagle and is then shot by plainsman. Oh, the irony.