Lackawanna Duo Will Not Be Gophers

Herschel Thornton, a safety and Dwight Tillman, a cornerback, both from Lackawanna (PA) CC, will not be part of the Minnesota football team this fall, The two junior college transfers signed with the Gophers in February and planned to enroll this summer with the hopes of earning a starting spots this fall. GoldenSports.Net caught up with Thornton to learn about the latest on his situation.

Herschel Thornton and Dwight Tillman helped lead Lackawanna to a 5-4 mark last season. They were expected to play with former college teammate Jeff Wills, who started at right tackle and tight end Tiree Eure, who inked with the Gophers in December.

Thornton was on campus Saturday, but received word Monday that he and Tillman will not be part of the Minnesota football team this season and the two left the school.

Thornton said that the two will not be able to become eligible at Minnesota or any Division I school.

"We can't. We are ineligible. We have to go Division II."

Thornton and Tillman had both told GoldenSports.Net during the spring game that they were looking forward to arriving at Minnesota and competing for playing time. He said that the news of his ineligibility caught him off-guard.

"Basically, it was totally out of the blue."

Thornton said that he took classes at Montgomery Community College in the fall of 2006, which started his athletic clock.

"I am pretty much talking to my junior college coach (Mark Duda) try to get him to contact some schools."

Thornton told GoldenSports.Net at the spring game that he thought that playing two years at the junior coIlege level will help step in quickly as opposed to a typical freshman.

"I think that it helped me develop," Thornton said. "It helped me mature on and off the field. It helped me to basically know myself better than I did before. At 18, you really don't know your strengths, your negatives or your positives. It just helped me look at the game differently."

Thornton thought that having several familiar faces would also help his adjustment to Minnesota.

"It helps you get more comfortable on the field," Thornton said. "It helps you relax. It helps you on the field and makes you comfortable."

Thornton said he was willing to do whatever is necessary to get on the field.

"I just want to come in and give it my all," Thornton said. "If I get the starting spot, that is good, but just come in and give it my all and see what happens.

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