2009 LB Prospect: Nigel Thornton

Nigel Thornton is one of top linebackers in the state of Georgia heading into the 2008 season. He spoke with Scout.com about his expectations for his senior year of high school as well as where he stands in the recruiting process.

Nigel Thornton is one of top linebackers in the state of Georgia heading into the 2008 season. He spoke with Scout.com about his expectations for his senior year of high school as well as where he stands in the recruiting process. Nigel is an outside linebacker (WLB) that stands 6' 2-1/2" tall and weighs 226 pounds. His forty time is in the 4.7 range, but he is working on improving that.

Nigel, even though it is early in the recruiting process, do you have any official offers right now?

"Yes sir, I have offers from Georgia Tech, Duke and Mississippi State."

What other school have either contacted you are ones that you are interested in right now?

"The schools besides the ones that have offered that have interest me are Ohio State, Penn State, Louisville, Stanford, Clemson and Florida."

What do you feel your best attributes are on the playing field?

"I feel I tackle real well and run to the ball well too. I love playing linebacker because you have to know how to hit and hit hard to be successful at this position. I feel that I can come off the edge extremely well as well as blitzing. My quickness and running from side to side are some things that help me make a lot of plays too."

I see that you attended Junior Day at Georgia Tech, was that a good experience for you?

"Yes sir, I had a tremendous time there. I got to know the coaching staff better. I already knew Coach BJ (Coach Brian Jean-Mary), but I got a chance to meet the new coaches and came away impressed by all of them, especially Coach Johnson. He is a very laid back coach, that comes across as humble, but you can tell he will be a winner because he knows his football and knows what it takes to win."

You say you know Coach BJ, is he the one that is recruiting you and what do you think of him?

"I talk to Coach BJ a lot. I talked to him yesterday and when we are through, I am going to call him and talk to him about Georgia Tech. We are supposed to talk about the academics at Georgia Tech. I know they are one the greatest academic schools in the nation and Coach BJ wants to let me know all about what Georgia Tech has to offer a student-athlete. As for our relationship, I feel like he is one of those coaches you would run through a brick wall for, we have a very good relationship. He's a great guy."

When you get to a school, what so you want to major in?

"I am going to major in Business. Then hopefully, I can go on and get my Executive MBA after undergraduate school. That is my plan that I hope to fulfill."

Did Georgia Tech offer you at Junior Day or after?

"They offered me while I was there and the thing that impressed me about it was that Coach Johnson told me to take the offer and think about it, don't make a hasty decision. He wanted me to make sure I made the right choice and that if I chose Georgia Tech, it would be for the school. I liked his honesty and how he handled that."

I see you are from Stephenson High School, have you had a chance to talk with other Stephenson High graduates about their college choices?

"Well, I worked out with Reggie Ball before he left to go to his NFL tryouts and talked with Marcus Ball too. I've talked to a couple of others, so I have some idea of what to expect during this recruiting period."

Speaking of the recruiting period, are you looking forward to it or is it something you want to get over with quickly?

"I am pumped about it. Not many guys get a chance like this and it will be something I will enjoy until I decide on which school I will go to. I am very lucky to be in this situation and I will use it to inform me on each school visit officially or unofficially so I can make a well informed decision for myself."

During this process, how will you go about it to make sure you make the correct choice?

"I will look at each college and decide based on the merits of the college. The one that fits what I want the best is the one I will go to."

What priorities do you have when you will look at each college?

"Academics first and foremost, then football, what traditions do they have and how they are doing."

How about playing time, would a loaded depth chart be something that might steer you away?

"I don't shy away from competition, but if a team is so loaded at my position with top players from each class ahead of me, I think I would look at another school. I mean I like playing on teams with a lot of talent, but I also like to play and play before my senior season. I wouldn't mind if I had to red-shirt my first year, but any athlete would love to get on the field as soon as they can so they can contribute to their team."

What is something that people find unique about you?

"My toughness. My backbone is my toughness. My Mom instilled that in me when she was my coach in football when I was little. People see me as this person that always has a smile on his face and that gets along with everyone and that is very easy going. When I put my uniform on and get on the field, I play with toughness and leave it all out on the field so when I go home I can say I did the best job I could do and not feel guilty if I didn't give it 100%. That's another thing my Mom put in me. I'd rather face another player bigger than me than have to go home and have my Mom get all over me for not giving it 100%. She's not the typical Mom, she's one that says, "Get up, you're not hurt. Try harder next time."

There is a trend that some football players enroll early to get a jump on their college career. Is that something you plan on trying?

"Yes sir, I talked to my high school counselor just today about that. I have enough credits and my SAT and GPA is high enough that I am already cleared by the Clearing House so I can either enroll early or do some high school/college joint courses. In fact, Coach BJ and I have talked about this and it is something I look forward to trying."


Dale's Take:
Not only did I get a chance to talk to Nigel, but to his Mom also. You can tell where Nigel gets his friendly outgoing personality from. She was a pleasure to speak with. We talked about Nigel growing up as she coached him in football. She mentioned that she wants Nigel to make this decision on his own and for him to look at everything and make a well informed decision. Right now, she is the President of the Stephenson High Football Booster Club and is involved a lot in Nigel's activities and is looking forward to seeing Nigel play college ball. Nigel said that he was blessed to have a Mom like her as she gave him a lot of the traits he has now.

Nigel is a very likeable person as he is very outgoing. You could tell when we were talking about his future that he and his Mom have talked about this. He has a very well thought out plan as to what he will do in the recruiting process. The part I like most about Nigel is that he is very confident in his abilities but is also very humble and has a great attitude. In fact, you could say he has two different attitudes: one for everyday life that is a joy to be around and one for football that if you are a ball carrier, you don't want to be around. Whoever lands Nigel will be getting a good one.


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