Thornton Has a Top Five

Prichard (AL) Vigor HS defensive end Justin Thornton looked like he was about to settle his recruitment a few weeks ago after a visit to Florida. Some time has come and gone since that visit and the 6-4, 230 pound pass rush demon is still high on the Gators, but he has a few other schools he is interested in and will look hard at as well.

Justin Thornton released his top five schools on Twitter on Sunday and then added that he wants to make that final decision at the end of the summer. That is something he has not wavered from since leaving his Florida visit last month.

"August is the month that I plan on making a decision," he said. "It gives me more time to visit the campuses. I am taking in a lot during the summer, including USC where I will get my first look at the campus. I just want to take any visit I can before the season."

Thornton has a top five of Florida, Auburn, Texas A&M, LSU, and USC as of right now.

"I just feel comfortable with this top five and have talked with every coach in the top five," he said. "We have a great relationship going with all of them and I am enjoying the process right now."

Three weeks ago Thornton visited Florida and came away glowing about the trip, It seems that Florida has done nothing wrong, just that Thornton needs some time to check out other places and make sure of where he wants to attend.

"I just don't want to rush into the decision," he said. "I feel like if I make a leap of faith, I am afraid I won't feel comfortable with it. Even though Florida is my dream school, I still want to look at other colleges and see what they have to offer.

"I feel like once I get through the summer. I will continue my workouts and before the season I will have my decision made and commit to a team."

It is evident that Thornton thinks highly of the Southeastern Conference since four of his five finalists are in the SEC. He talks a bit about the league and those schools.

"There is no arguing that the SEC is the best conference in the nation," he said. "If you want to train with the big boys you need to be in the SEC. I know Auburn is rebuilding,. Florida is a dream school for me. Texas A&M is a national championship contender. LSU I just love their defense. They are so intense and I love their fan base.

"The schools I have in my top five, there are reasons I chose them . Auburn and (assistant coach) Dameyune Craig is a down to earth guy and I get along with him. The people at Florida, they made me feel like home. I plan on going to Texas A&M during my spring beak (April 21). I am going to visit my dad in Dallas and drive down there. I plan on going to LSU next week, I had some transportation issues."

The Trojans of USC have always been that glamor pick for a lot of players. Hollywood has a lure about it and Thornton is also being courted by one of the best recruiters in the business.

"Tee Martin is a down to earth guy too," he said of the USC assistant. "I have never been out there, but the view I have seen looks nice and a place I feel I can be comfortable with. Everything just looks neat. I know they didn't have a great season last year but they can get back into that national championship or big bowl games.

He still has trips planned to all the schools including a return trip to Gainesville. He says his favorite sports personality is a Gator Great.

"I am going to try to get to Florida for a practice this spring," he said. "I have a camp to attend during their spring game.

"I have been a real big Tim Tebow fan. Even though he's a quarterback and he has the haters in the NFL, I have just been a fan since I was little. He's a hard worker and he doesn't pay attention to all the naysayers. He is a big guy with The Lord Jesus. There is something about him and I just pray that something works out with him in the NFL."

It seems that Florida and USC may have a little advantage when it comes to the career field Thornton would like to pursue. Both schools are big into Broadcast Journalism.

"I plan on studying Journalism / Broadcasting," he said. "I want to do something that I can enjoy for the rest of my life. I would love to commentate during football games or just be on ESPN or something. I just want to do something I feel comfortable with after football because I just love the sport."

With a personal deadline of only a few months away, Thornton says he knows what he is looking for in his future college home.

"I just want a place that will develop me into a successful person outside of football and give me the education that I need," he said. "I want a place that will make me feel like I am home whether that is for four years or five. I want a great coaching staff that I can come and talk to and that I can sustain a relationship. I want a great program and a great fan base that I can feed off of their intensity."

Stay tuned to and FOX Sports NEXT for the latest on Justin Thornton.

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