Talented DE Has Auburn In Final Three

Auburn made the final three for talented 2014 defensive end Justin Thornton from Vigor.

Mobile, Ala.—One of the top defensive end prospects in the South has a final three and plans to make his decision next Sunday at church in Prichard. Justin Thornton has had the Florida Gators at the top of his list for much of the last few months, but now with his decision imminent he says Auburn, LSU, and Texas A&M are his top three.

"Auburn makes me feel like family," Thornton says. "That's why I decided to change my commitment date until next Sunday. I'm just ready to get it done because I've got more things to focus on.

"Those are the schools that have been showing the most interest in me," he adds. "They are still keeping in touch with me even though they know about the academic part of things. They keep in touch."

Auburn has made a steady climb for the 6-5, 221-pounder out of Vigor High since early in the spring. With Dameyune Craig joining the Tigers' staff that's not a surprise, but Thornton notes that there is plenty to like about Auburn at the moment.

"It was great," Thornton says. "I got to get some one-on-one time and spend more time with the coaches and Coach (Gus) Malzahn. I got to tour more of the campus also. It was just an honor to get to know them even more and get to see what spot they have me on defense. I think I could come in and play real early because they have some guys leaving."

With Nosa Eguae, Craig Sanders, Dee Ford and Kenneth Carter all gone following the 2013 season at Auburn, Thornton says that it definitely makes him take a much longer look at the Tigers because it's an opportunity to jump into a starting role.

"That's what I like," Thornton says. "I want to come in and play early. I'm going to come in and work hard."

It's not just a potential depth chart that has Auburn climbing the list for Thornton as his relationship with Craig also plays a part. A standout for the Tigers out of Prichard himself, Craig is back on the Plains and Thornton notes he's building a great rapport with the former quarterback.

"He's a real cool coach," Thornton says. "He's laid-back. He's like a father figure to me. What I like about him is he shows a lot of respect to my family. I like that."

Thornton says he plans to call each of his three finalists this week and have one final talk with each before making his decision.

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