Refreshing Thoughts from Rahssan Thornton

Three-star DE Rahssan Thornton (Killeen, Texas/Shoemaker) is the type of recruit Charlie Strong wants.

It isn’t the case with all recruits, but there are definitely those out there that hold it against programs for offering later than others.

Three-star defensive end/outside linebacker Rahssan Thornton (Killeen, Texas/Shoemaker) isn’t one of those recruits.

By the time he picked up his Longhorns offer a few days ago, the muscular Thornton already had offers from Cal, Kansas, LSU, Michigan and North Texas.

But he isn’t holding the timing of the offer against Charlie Strong and his program. If anything, he likes UT more for offering a bit later than everyone else.

"You actually have to earn, earn that one,” he said. “Not just on the field but as a person too. The coaches want to see who you are as a person. You have to hang around the program for a good little bit and get to know the coaches before they offer just like any other college. It's like a family thing basically.

"When they take their time and analyze you it shows that they really care."

That’s definitely not something you hear all that often from recruits these days. But it has to be music to the ears of Strong and his staff.

Thornton (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) had an opportunity to get to know the staff a little bit more on Sunday when he came down for Texas’ mini camp. He feels like he is really connecting well with defensive line coach Brick Haley and Strong himself.

That connection is one of the many reasons why he tells HD that the Longhorns are in his top three along with Michigan and LSU (no order).

Thornton, the No. 50 DE in the country, actually grew up in a military family so he moved around quite a bit growing up. He lived in New Orleans and North Carolina before moving to Texas in 2006.

He became an LSU fan during that time spent in New Orleans.

The Longhorns would like him to play the Fox position, which is currently held by sophomore Naashan Hughes. It’s a position that Thornton knows really well having played it most of his life.

“You guys have seen me play that on my highlight tape,” he said. “Even last year I got a sack and caused a fumble. They might move me to outside linebacker or even move over the nose guard so I can rush the quarterback.”

It takes a special blend of speed and athleticism to play Fox really well. Thornton, who benches 350 pounds and runs in the 4.5-4.6 range, has that in spades. But it’s his football savvy that sets him apart from many of his peers.

“I put common sense to football technique,” he said. “The way I do things is different, I don’t know how. But people tell me I do things I differently.

“There have been a lot of people that tell me I’m different than a lot of people. They say the way I play is different. I don’t know how. I think I’m just a normal player with good technique.

“Let me give you an example. Let’s say a tackle is blocking down a certain way. If you know football you should know where the ball is going to be based on what the running back and quarterback does. In my mind I am basically analyzing what an offensive player is thinking as he is reading me.”

These are definitely the type of players that Strong is searching the country for. Thornton just so happens to reside an hour north of Austin, which helps UTs chances.

He said he would visit LSU for a camp in July and would also visit Michigan at some point not yet known.

“I want to commit before the season but make sure I’m making the right decision,” he said. “Academics are important. Also the coaching staff and the players, and how they treat you, and the campus and surrounding area. So far Texas has those things.”

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