Thornton Moves Up

FAYETTEVILLE -- Little Rock Central free safety Kevin Thornton takes over the No.2 spot in The Morning News Top 30 Arkansans after being No. 3 since the first list came out in the spring.

Thornton moves in front of Fort Smith Southside receiver Slick Shelley, who held the No.1 ranking for most of the season before falling to No. 2 three months ago.

McFadden, an Arkansas commitment, secures the top spot for the third straight month.

Wynne's defensive tackle Cord Gray remains No.4 while Texarkana running back Brandon Barnett stays in the No.5 spot. Gray is committed to Arkansas while Barnett, whose only scholarship offer is from the Razorbacks, still is undecided.

A new name in the Top 30 this month is Fayetteville tailback Tristan Thomas, who verbally committed to Rice last week despite not playing a down this season. He was ruled ineligible by the Arkansas Activities Association after using up all eight semesters of eligibility before his senior year, but still received a scholarship offer during an official visit and promptly pulled the trigger.

Thornton has only one official visit scheduled when he heads to Arkansas the weekend of Jan. 28.

" My schedule has me so busy, it's going to be hard for me to take that many official visits," Thornton said.

Thornton (6-2, 195 pounds) is still considering taking trips to Alabama, Memphis, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Tennessee.

"Coach Madre Hill (South Carolina running backs coach) called me Wednesday night and tried to talk me into taking a visit to South Carolina," Thornton said.

"I'm not sure if I'll take any other visits besides the one to Arkansas and possibly Memphis since it's close to home. I'm visiting Arkansas the weekend of Jan.28. If I choose Arkansas, I know that I'll have the chance to contribute next year as a freshmen."

"Arkansas is home, if I had to name an early leader, it would be them," Thornton said. "I'll probably wait until signing day to make my decision public. Some of the schools that have been recruiting me are starting to pull up, most of them feel like I'm a lock to sign with Arkansas."

Thornton recorded 8 interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, bringing his career total to 23. On offense, Thornton hauled in 4 touchdowns from his receiver position.

He was recently named Class AAAAA All-state and received the State Farm Defensive Player Of The Year award.

"It's nice to have people think that high of me, but I've got to continue to work and get better," Thornton said.

Thornton was also nominated to play in Shreveport, La. on Jan.13 in an All-American game.

"I've got plans to play in the game and see how everything goes," Thornton said.

He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds and bench presses 245 pounds. Thornton has a 3.0 grade-point average and recently recorded a 22 on his ACT.

"I've always taken my grades seriously, without them there's no chance that Kevin Thornton has the chance to play Division I football," Thornton said.

Thornton helped Central to two state titles.

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