"I Think I Could Commit" Says Texas LB

After one of their more successful recruiting weekends in a long time in December, the Duke coaching staff is back at work, trying to close the deal with another weekend that will be full of prospects visiting the Durham campus. At least one of those players says there is a good chance he's previewing his future home.

"I've never been to Duke, but right now I'd have to say they are number one on my list," says Katy (Tex.) High standout linebacker Paul Thornton. "After this weekend I think there is a pretty good chance they'll be my only list. I'm thinking I could commit."

With that statement it would appear head coach Ted Roof is close to landing one of the top linebacking prospects on the Duke recruiting board.

Rated as a two star prospect, Thornton recorded 121 tackles, nine sacks one interception for a touchdown, and blocked a punt in the state championship game as a junior. He followed that up with another big season this year, recording over 100 tackles, three interceptions and a fumble recover as Katy was again among Texas' best teams.

At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, the is a chance the Texas native could have a chance to play early at the collegiate level. Something Coach Roof and Coach Yanowsky have reiterated in their recruiting pitch to him.

"They talked to me about being able to come in and compete for early playing time. They don't really have too many line backers and they started 14 freshmen this year, so there's a chance I could go in and play. Duke was really close in all their games last year, but didn't have the depth and endurance to finish it out, that's what they're trying to get in this class. They've said they are going to be the biggest turnaround story in college football."

While the one the field sales pitch was enough to get Thornton interested, it is the off the field benefits that have him closing in on a decision.

"Coach said I'll meet some extraordinary people that will make a big impact with me, and I'll have a Duke degree. You know, my dream is to play in the NFL one day, but that's the same dream every football player in the country has right now. One day football isn't going to be there and then you'll be a success based on your training and education – and people remember a Duke degree."

And some of those impact acquaintances have already materialized in Thornton's mind.

"The recruiting coach, Coach Yano, is like a best friend. He's not trying to sell Duke to me. He said if this is the best place for you then you should come to school here. He's been honest throughout the entire process. "

A good example of that honesty, according to Thornton, came when the two were discussing the facilities available to football players at Duke.

"He said: ‘Look, you may get here and love them. You may think they are too small. I can't say we've got the best because it's all a matter of preference.' That kind of thing really stood out."

Thornton, who has already qualified academically, says he wants to major in either business or engineering.

Currently he holds offers from a number of Midwest teams including Kansas, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Missouri, and Houston.


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