On second thought, Mike Thornton is going to give this recruiting thing a little more time.
The Stephenson defensive lineman, considered one of the top uncommitted prospects in the state of Georgia, had planned on making his college decision about now. He was going to graduate from high school early and enroll in the college of his choice in January. But Thornton told me Monday he has decided to remain in high school for a second semester, which should relieve some of the intense recruiting pressure he has been experiencing the last few weeks.
“I just sat down and decided I needed to take some more time,” said the 6-foot-2, 285-pound tackle. “I didn’t want to rush into anything. My academics are fine. I’m still an A-B student. That’s not it at all. It’s a recruiting decision. I just want to make sure I make the right choice.”
Thornton said he plans to take some more official visits — he has been only to Penn State so far — and set up a personal workout regimen with Stephenson strength coach Reggie Ball Sr. to improve his strength and speed. Basically he wants to slow down.
Thornton said he hopes to make an official visit to Georgia this weekend. The Bulldogs are hosting their annual end-of-the-season banquet Friday night. But it’s dependent upon his family’s availability. He said he may try to set up some other officials but did not specify where.
“I just haven’t had time to really think about it until now,” he said.
Thornton’s recruitment picked up momentum steadily throughout the season to the point of overwhelming him late in the year. Once considered a three-team race between Georgia, Auburn and Penn State, it widened to include Clemson, South Carolina, Michigan, Miami, N.C. State, Arkansas, West Virginia and Tennessee at one point.
Eventually Thornton shut down the recruiting process altogether so he could concentrate on the Jaguars run in the playoffs. Their undefeated run ended unexpectedly short in the second round.
Now Thornton wants to simplify the process. This week, he has Georgia on his mind.
“Well you know, they did lose a couple of coaches and Coach [Rodney] Garner is the only coach left on the defense,” Thornton said. “But I’ve been knowing Coach Garner since the ninth grade and we talk all the time. I haven’t really talked to him about that situation but it’s sad that they had to do that. But Coach Richt is still the coach and he’s got to do what he thinks he needs to do to win. They had a down year but still finished second behind Florida so I think they’re going to get it turned around.”