So far his impact on his Vigor team has been huge as the seventh-ranked Wolves remained undefeated following a 28-0 shutout of B.C. Rain on Friday night.
The headliner on a defense allowing just 8.8 points per game through the first four weeks of the season, Thornton had his best game so far this season in the shutout. Roaming all over the field from his defensive end position, the 6-6, 230-pound senior came up with four sacks and caused a fumble in the victory.
Working hard on his skills since last season, Thornton is now stronger and he said he believes improved technique has taken his game to another level.
"I thank God for my performance," Thornton tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "It was all him. I think I have just gotten way better as a senior. I'm just using better technique so that helps me beat double teams. I feel like I can do that and still make plays."
Justin Thornton gets after a quarterback
With seven sacks on the season Thornton is hoping for bigger and better things as Vigor hopes to make a run at the 5A title. Currently undefeated in the region at 3-0 and games ahead against St. Paul's and Spanish Fort, there are still plenty of challenges ahead this year for Vigor.
Before his team focuses on a playoff run, however, Vigor will turn its full attention to rival Blount this Friday night. One of the top rivalries in Alabama, Thornton says he can't wait until they take the field again this week in his final game against the Leopards.
"We have a big game this week," he says. "That's going to be packed. There are going to be people everywhere. Playing in this game is just an honor. There is a rich tradition and I love seeing the fans come out. It's going to be a great game."
This week's rivalry game is one of many that Thornton will be playing in during his career. Working everyday to be ready for games against LSU, Georgia and Alabama down the road, Vigor coach Ashley Johnson says that his star pupil has turned into a marked man this season, but it hasn't slowed him down.
"He's playing hard," Johnson says of Thornton. "He's got a motor in him. He just kept getting after it. He wouldn't stop. He's just got so much big play potential and makes so much happen. I know so many teams have to gameplan for him. They have to know where he is."