Mike Thornton says Kiffin, Orgeron make USC a serious contender

Mike Thornton says don't count out Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans, with whom he has set up an official visit on Jan. 29. (Chip Towers)

Mike Thornton says don't count out Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans, with whom he has set up an official visit on Jan. 29. (Chip Towers)

Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron might strike one more time in Georgia before they get settled out there in Southern California.

The dynamic duo, who declared recruiting war on Georgia while at Tennessee, are now doing their thing for the Trojans of USC. But they still have their connections back here in the Peach State. And despite all that has happened and what all has gone on, they have managed to convince Mike Thornton, the state’s top uncommitted prospect, that his last official visit needs to be out in Los Angeles with them on Jan. 29.

And he’s likely going to take them up on it.

“I’d say I probably would [take the visit],” said Thornton, a big defensive tackle from Stephenson and the No. 3 player in the AJC’s Top 50 state player rankings. “It’s not like you can just drive out there for an unofficial visit. We’ll see. We’re just going with the flow.”

Though Thornton had some flirtations with Kiffin and Orgeron his senior season — he was one of their main targets when they helicoptered in at Clarkston’s James Hallford Stadium — he never listed Tennessee among his top few choices. Now after mentioning Southern Cal for the first time earlier this week he made it clear the Trojans are a serious candidate.

“Yeah, I would put them in the top,” the 6-foot-2, 280-pound tackle said. “I like those guys [Kiffin and Orgeron]. I do. They’ve stayed consistent with me from the beginning of the process. They’ve never stopped contacting me. Both of them have been in the league. One of them is one of the best D-line coaches there is. They’re good.”

Thornton is a tough Jaguar to get a handle on. While he has always listed a main three of Auburn, Georgia and Penn State, at different times he’s placed Georgia Tech, Miami, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, North Carolina, North Carolina State and a few others on the same level.

And he has been really fickle lately. He has canceled planned official visits to Miami, Auburn and Georgia Tech in the last few weeks. Kentucky tried desperately to get him up there with four teammates this weekend but to no avail. The only official trips he has taken have been to Georgia (12/11/09) and Penn State (11/06/09).

Earlier this week it was reported by some Alabama media outlets that Thornton had eliminated Auburn (probably because he canceled his visit to The Plains last weekend). Not true, he said.

“No, no, no,” he said. “I still talk to them down there. I haven’t eliminated Auburn. Auburn is still a contender on my list.”

He also said his decision is not interdependent on what Jeff Whitaker decides. Auburn and Georgia are both after the big defensive tackle from Warner Robins. “No, not at all,” Thornton said. “I love competition. I know Jeff. It’d be fun if he and I came to the same school. Who knows?”

Thornton said he won’t announce a decision until national signing day (Feb. 3) or the day after. Who knows what might happen between now and then?

131 comments Add your comment

Dawg

January 21st, 2010
10:00 pm

How does anybody still respect Kiffin and Orgeron?

mike

January 21st, 2010
10:03 pm

if he loves kiffin, no way he winds up at uga.
I know your parents are proud.

benadawg

January 21st, 2010
10:04 pm

With the loss of the front three why would any recruit on the d-line pass up georgia?

t

January 21st, 2010
10:05 pm

Kiffin? Can the kid read?

lane

January 21st, 2010
10:07 pm

Jeff, would to have you out here at USC. I don’t give a crap about you as a person, only as a football player.

Gen Neyland

January 21st, 2010
10:07 pm

What he loves is the attention. Can’t seperate from that…

Frank

January 21st, 2010
10:09 pm

I think the kid is just wanting a free trip to Cally. I mean come on, he can’t be seriously considering going to a school that is going to be on probation very, very soon. If he really is, I don’t think any of the other schools in consideration would actually want him anyway. In the word of the great Paul Johnson, “are you stupid?”

THWGT!!!

North Georgia Dawg

January 21st, 2010
10:10 pm

Mike you need to seek some wise council before making that trip out to LA. You can’t trust a word coming from Kiffin and Orgeron. Hell… call Marlon Browns grandmother or call Al Davis. They’ll both tell you that those guys are swindlers and snake oil salesmen! However, if you do decide to go, I have some ocean front property in Arizona. I’ll sell it to ya for $1.00

What?

January 21st, 2010
10:11 pm

Are you crazy? Don’t you read the papers or watch youtube? Kiffin and Orgeron anywhere east of the Mississippi?

Seems a little too much drama as well. Perhaps he needs to look elsewhere if he is serious.

Atlanta Jacket

January 21st, 2010
10:12 pm

I don’t know how any parent would let their son go play for Lane Kiffen. Character and integrity mean something and that guy lacks both.

.

January 21st, 2010
10:13 pm

What a d-a@@ to believe or love Kiffin. Whats kiffin got to do crap in your face to wake you up. I don’t care where you go…you better wake up.

North Georgia Dawg

January 21st, 2010
10:14 pm

Seriously kid, don’t be STUPID! You make that mistake and you’ll be paying for it the rest of your life.

chemdawg

January 21st, 2010
10:16 pm

North Georgia Dawg: When you sell the property for $1, the joke doesn’t make sense :( I’m sure property in Arizona is worth more than $1.00 (which means you’re a horrible snake oil salesman!)

Curious Cleve

January 21st, 2010
10:21 pm

Will Da’Rick “Freak” Rogers de-commit from UGA and announce his intentions to attend UT this weekend? Dooley could take a great one from the Dawgs.

Bill

January 21st, 2010
10:21 pm

Man get smart- Hell No to Kiffin! Pick Auburn, Uga, GT, FSU, Tenn, Penn State, are Ala, but no to Kiffin. Don’t screw up your life, Kiffin will be gone in 2 years.

Duke Yellowjacket

January 21st, 2010
10:23 pm

After following his recruitment over the last several months, it doesn’t come as a shock that Thornton is impressed by Kiffin and Orgeron. Sounds to this observer like they deserve one another.

Pathetic.

chemdawg

January 21st, 2010
10:27 pm

“They’ve stayed consistent with me from the beginning of the process.” <— love this quote… How do you define "consistent"? Apparently it has nothing to do with telling the truth, staying at the same school for more than 1 year, or even the same geographic region for that matter.

North Georgia Dawg

January 21st, 2010
10:27 pm

Chemdawg, the joke is I’ll make a $1.00 on non-exsistent ocean front property in AZ. Check a map of the United States dummy! (AZ is land locked)

Signed by Heywood Jeblowme

UGA DAWG

January 21st, 2010
10:29 pm

Go to UGA and you will have a job in the NFL one day. We specialize in D-Lineman in the Pros.

StraightJacket

January 21st, 2010
10:32 pm

Kiffin?

And I thought I was the crazy one in the asylum.

If the parents aren’t going to help this poor, misguided kid, hopefully someone else will educate him on Kiffin’s Narcissism.

After the visibility with which Kiffin made a fool of himself, I wonder if the kid just doesn’t have contact with the outside world? Maybe there’s no electricity, computer, or TV at his home. Maybe he hasn’t heard about the Haiti earthquake, either. Maybe, just MAYBE, we should cut him some slack.

But if he doesn’t have some sort of explanation, this kid needs an “intervention” from a responsible adult. I’ll say a prayer for the poor boy.

-SJ

DirtyDawg

January 21st, 2010
10:46 pm

Son, have you ever heard of the fact that a bunch of smart-a$$ white guys traded $26 worth of beads and trinkets for Manhattan Island? You go to USC, who’ll be on probation in a year and Kiffin will be sent packing in two, and you personally will never be ranked high on anybody’s draft list. Stay close to home and you’ll make a name for yourself that will last a lifetime.

ghost dawg

January 21st, 2010
10:50 pm

i ‘d rather have two stars that really want to be a dawg than these idiots that let their egos run wild. Go ahead and sign with usc, you’re too stupid to be a dawg any way. The world doesn’t revolve around you.

hunker down

January 21st, 2010
10:51 pm

Not selected by the AJC top 11 now wants to go to California to look around. Hmmm, sounds like deep down he knows he is not the elite of the elite.

Jeff

January 21st, 2010
10:57 pm

I only saw one person here comment on the fact that USC could realistically be facing penalties. Why would you go there? Kiffin is obviously a joke, no use in us talking about it here. I’d like him to stay in the southeast. I’m a UGA guy, so I’d take him here to go with our new 3-4 scheme.

Gene Okerlund

January 21st, 2010
11:08 pm

How could any parent let their kid go to a school that is about to go on probation and play for the scum of the earth?

If the kid wants to play for those douches, more power to him. See ya.

chattanoogavol

January 21st, 2010
11:09 pm

Thornton…use your head. Anywhere but playing for Kiffin….I hate to see any kid from the south play for that snake.

chemdawg

January 21st, 2010
11:11 pm

North Georgia Dawg: Arizona obviously has no ocean front. Typically, expressions like that imply someone is so gullible they’ll believe you and pay you (a real amount of) money. You clearly are confused :( Here, read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swampland_in_Florida

Dawg Man

January 21st, 2010
11:13 pm

How many can ga sign??? Already got about 50 commitments. Everybody I read about lists ga as one of they’re top choices. I know GT can only sign 16, so how many does ga get to sign–about 100 ? Maybe, richt knows about 10 of them wont qualify

oldbird

January 21st, 2010
11:20 pm

It is really a shame what the internet has done for/to these kids.Recruiting has always been way overated, but now these 17-18 year old kids can see their names all over the internet, and read all the blogs. I think it makes recruiting even tougher on the coaches to decipher the character of the player. These guys go online and read all about themselves, and can’t wait to make more blog headlines. Maybe I’m old and oldschool, but I really don’t believe that this 24/7 coverage of a high school kid is good for the kid, or for college football.

hind tit

January 21st, 2010
11:20 pm

it’s time teams quit playing this game and move on and gave a 2 star guy his ride.nothing but trouble and complaining,whining. it’s all about me me me. not a team guy.

HardTruth Soldier

January 21st, 2010
11:26 pm

Son you go with a 363 winning percentage coach, and your destined to be just like you are now, so much talent at(Stphrnson) no championships to talk about!

North Georgia Dawg

January 21st, 2010
11:31 pm

Chemdawg, really…. are you kidding me. I can’t believe you would actually take the time to even look that up. I was actually refering to the George Strait song and unlike some crooks of this day and time (Kiffin & Orgeron) I was trying to make a point, not make a buck of kid that obviously doesn’t know his arse from a hole in the ground. However, since you bring up “Florida Swamp Land”….. I actually just came back from the middle of “Florida Sawmp Land”. You may of heard of it….They call it Orlando now. I think a guy named Walt Disney thought it would be a wise investment to make that so called “Swamp Land” into a world renowned theme park. Nice try though DA.

chemdawg

January 21st, 2010
11:40 pm

super, you read the article then

SuperB

January 21st, 2010
11:41 pm

If Thorton winds up at USC, he can come home for the Christmas holidays! ‘Cause the Trojans won’t be playing in a bowl game while they are on probation. No Pac-10 titles, no BCS bowls– at least not while he would be there. And that’s just for the transgressions under Pete Carroll.
Kiffin is bound to heap some more misery on USC– given his distaste for following any NCAA rules!

chemdawg

January 21st, 2010
11:49 pm

I totally see your original point now: Thorton is a true real estate genius, a future Walt Disney! Sorry for the confusion on my part.

North Georgia Dawg

January 21st, 2010
11:50 pm

Chemdawg, I have some swamp land in Arizona. However, you can have it for free. Under one conditon though, you have to move there right away. We don’t need anymore yankees or douche bags in Georgia….. I am assuming the Chem in Chemdawg stand for Chemical Dependency. Put the crack pipe down and go to your swamp land in Arizona. We are talking UGA football here!

Stephen

January 21st, 2010
11:51 pm

The kid’s quote from the article:
“[Kiffin and Orgeron] have stayed consistent with me from the beginning of the process. ”

If that’s true, kid, then you’re certainly the first.

Uninterested

January 21st, 2010
11:56 pm

Mike,
You do what you need to do. We’ll all be fine. I promise.

Cuttysark

January 22nd, 2010
12:01 am

A fine piece as always Chip. Thanks! The NCAA will be meeting with USC the third week in February and present their findings on; 1) the Reggie Bush Investigation, 2) The O.J. Mayo Basketball scandal, and 3) the recent Joe McKnight SUV matter. This is a minimum lack of institutional control scenario that could hamstring this program well into the future. Mike Thornton should go ahead and take a free trip to Los Angeles, but as far as going there for college he should politely decline. He will wind up committing some place closer to home.

For more articles on Georgia Tech Football and the new DC hire Al Groh, go to http://isportsweb.com. Go Jackets!

too much

January 22nd, 2010
12:03 am

This kid is attention starved …any school that signs him is asking for trouble. Thornton, please do NOT sign with the dawgs Just go away!

Anotherdawg

January 22nd, 2010
12:07 am

By consistent, does that mean Kiffin and Orgeron are lying to the kid like they have to everybody else?

OptionBee

January 22nd, 2010
12:54 am

Mike Thornton: If you even read these AJC comments, make mental notes as to the Dawg fans comments. U will see that they will turn on you in an instant! They are only interested because you are highly rated, and they can’t wait to place high in the “mythical recruiting rankings” made up by people who don’t see them play, and wouldn’t know a 3 Technique from a water bucket. Seems they can’t do much with talent once they get it anyway! So, chose the school where you feel the most comfortable, and enjoy your next 4-5 years of your life. These can be the best years of your life! Best of luck young man!!

Jason

January 22nd, 2010
12:55 am

I know kids must feel all sorts of pressure and confusion what with all the teams, coaches, etc recruiting them, but actually thinking that playing for Lane Kiffin’s circus and NCAA violation extravaganza is a smart move? This just proves these kids are in fact just that, kids. Parents, don’t believe the hype of a snake oil salesman and have some respect for your kids and for yourselves.

GT3O

January 22nd, 2010
1:09 am

The thing that get’s me with this guy him not being consistent with the schools trying to recruit him. The one thing he pointed out, consistency, from Kiffen and Orgeron, he isn’t doing himself. First he has Auburn up high, then UGA, and Penn St. Then when GT hired Al Groh he got excited about GT and rivals reported he was “floored” by Al Groh and giddy about the prospect.

Then he switches, says he is not coming to Auburn or GT and now is possibly going to USC! Good luck kid.

Gator Nation

January 22nd, 2010
1:26 am

Guess I forgot how confusing it is to be 17. But I sure hope I was smarter than that!!

No. Ga. bob

January 22nd, 2010
3:05 am

Just heard from people in TN…the city of Knoxville just named a new sewage treatment plant for the former coach. REALLY!

BIRDDAWGONE

January 22nd, 2010
3:16 am

Go to California, tell Kiffin & Co. the same lies they tell recruits, hell maybe the coaches will do a strip tease for you!!!!! then go to an SEC school, play football with the best and then wink at Kiifin when you beat him at a bowl game—- TAKE THE FREE TRIP TO CALIFORNIA!!!!

jpaul

January 22nd, 2010
3:22 am

if he loves kiffen we dont ant him at UGA. We want the young men who want to be here and represent their state!

jpaul

January 22nd, 2010
3:32 am

AL doesnt have the best recruits but they have the players with the biggest hearts! NOTE TO RECRUITS: Come to UGA if you want to win a national championship! If you think you will pose better for the NFL go somewhere else. Come to UGA and CMR and CTG will prepare you for the NFL!

jpaul

January 22nd, 2010
3:34 am

UGA 2012 National Champions!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2011 SEC Champs.