Sometimes in our zest for all things recruiting we forget about the fact that not all these prospects have grown up following one college football program or another.
Stephenson’s Mike Thornton is just such a recruit. Arguably the best uncommitted prospect in the state and certainly in Atlanta, this 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle attended his first college football game EVER the weekend before last when he made an unofficial visit to Athens. This past weekend he attended his second one when he went to Auburn for the West Virginia game.
As you might imagine, Thornton is walking away wide-eyed and excited about the experience.
“It was great,” he said of his first trip to Athens. “It was something I never expected. I didn’t expect to be as big or as crowded or as loud as it was.”
Of Auburn, he said, “It was great, too. Of course there was a weather delay and a lot of rain. I think as far as playing and everything Auburn looks like they’re pretty set. They looked good. As far as the fans, Georgia has great fans, great tailgaters. Altogether though, Auburn might have the greatest fans because, even though it was raining and wet outside, their fans were still out there in droves and cheering them on.”
Generally Georgia and Auburn are thought to be the leaders for Thornton, who burst onto the recruiting scene with a Defensive MVP performance at Georgia’s Nike camp last spring. But he also holds Penn State in high regard and is being recruited personally by Nittany Lions’ defensive line coach Larry Johnson. Thornton said he’s trying to work out a visit to Happy Valley on Nov. 7 for the Ohio State game.
He’ll likely return to both Auburn and Georgia on official visits as well. He said he does not plan any more unofficial visits.
“Right now I’d say it’s still a tie between the two,” Thornton said of Auburn and Georgia. “I want to get back over there and see their practices and compare what that’s like.”
A decision will have to come quickly. Thornton says he’s on track to graduate early and would like to enroll in college January.
Some other visitation tidbits of local interest: