Six-foot-five hoss has Wulff, Cougars on top

SURE, HE'S 6-FOOT-5, weighs 290 pounds and can run. He's a state wrestling champion, and he's athletic and agile out on the gridiron. Most prep offensive line prospects with those kinds of attributes garner interest from the Cougars. But how does a guy in Ohio get a Washington State offer? Meanwhile, he also has a leader..

Hugh Thornton moved to Oberlin, Ohio this year but before that, he was a football and wrestling standout at Mountain View High in Meridian, Idaho. There looks, however, to be a real possibility he could wind up moving back West for college.

"Right now I'm really leaning towards Washington State," said Thornton. "There's some kids on the team I know and they've offered a kid from my school in Idaho (Darren Markle)."

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RECRUITING IS ABOUT building relationships, and Wazzu head man Paul Wulff has certainly accomplished that in the case of Thornton.

Thornton has early offers from Washington State, Akron and Bowling Green. He's seeing increasing interest from Michigan State and Michigan, and plans on unofficials to Ohio State, Michigan and Bowling Green in the near future. Asked if there was one college coach with whom he had built a particularly strong bond, Thornton didn't hesitate.

"Definitely coach Wulff from Washington State," said Thornton. "...We can relate in a lot of different ways. "With Washington State and Bowling Green, they said I have the characteristics they're looking for as a person. They (Washington State) said I'm a good leader and from a football standpoint, I move pretty good for my size and play with intensity."

ECHOING THOSE SENTIMENTS are his coach at Mountain View, Judd Benedick.

"For someone his size, he just has outstanding feet," said Benedick. "You just don't see someone with feet like his very often.

"And I think people are drawn to Hugh. He's a big guy but he's got a big heart and always has a smile on his face."

Even the best prep offensive linemen, however, usually take some time before they shine at the next level and Benedick said Thornton can still improve on his technique.

Like many prep o-linemen his size, Thornton is much larger than the players he squares off against and can thus play a little tall at times and get away with it, said Benedick.

"But when he gets with a position coach in college who can dedicate some time with him, I believe he'll correct that," said Benedick.

THORNTON SAID the plan is to make a verbal commitment by the end of his senior season and that distance won't play a factor.

"I'm still really considering everything right now," said Thornton.

Thornton took the 285-pound class 5A state title as a junior and helped lead Mountain View to their first ever state wrestling championship.

Hugh Thornton profile

  • In the class of 2010 at Mountain View, keep an eye out for Alexander Miles a RB/WR who as a sophomore checks in at 5-10, 165. "He has outstanding feet and vision. He's a tremendous athlete," says Benedick.

  • In the 2011 class, quarterback Tyson Percifield, (6-2, 190), recently completed his freshman season. "He has all the tools it looks like to me already," says Benedick, who has been coaching for 13 years.

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