Shadrach Thornton talks Vanderbilt
"I really felt accepted," Shadrach Thornton said of his trip to Vanderbilt. "The players on the team were great, and Coach Franklin was amazing. He has a motor that never stops. He met us at the airport to escort us to campus on game day when he has a ton of things he needs to do. That showed me how much he wants us there. It was the first time I was met by any coach at the airport."
Thornton, who made the trip to Nashville by himself, also enjoyed getting to know some of the other coaches on Coach Franklin's staff.
"One of the first things I asked to do when I got there was met the weight training coach," said Thornton. "I'm kind of a gym rat, so I want to have a good strength and conditioning coach. I had heard about Coach (Dwight) Galt, the man and the myth. He lived up to all of my expectations.
"I talked with John Dovovan, the running backs coach. He was really down-to-earth, but he has a non-stop motor too like Coach Franklin."
The Commodores, beat by Georgia, fall to 3-3 on the season. Thornton was not deterred by the loss, and thinks big things are ahead for Vanderbilt football.
"The coaches have the team on the up-and-up," Thornton said. "All of the games they've lost have been close. In two years, they're going to be hard to beat. It's something I would love to be a part of. The support of Coach Franklin from the people there was amazing to see. They are true football fans."
Thornton has become one of the rushing leaders this season in the state of Georgia at Liberty County High School in Hinesville. After seven games he has more than 1,200 rushing yards (171.4 yards per game) and 10 touchdowns. He also handles punt and kickoff return duties.
"The season is going pretty good," Thornton said. "We need to win out to make the playoffs. My speed has greatly improved from my junior to senior year, especially my breakaway speed.
"I'm on track to rush for more yards than I ever had, and I've thrown for two touchdowns. I run behind a young offensive line. They play their hearts out. I wouldn't trade them for the world, but they probably average 190-pounds together. It's not a huge offensive line like they have at Stephenson."
The other school in the running is in-state Georgia Tech. Thornton plans on taking an unofficial to Atlanta for the Yellow Jackets next home game with Clemson. Then he plans to decide what direction he wants to go in for college.
"I'm looking for college with a nice family feel to it," Thornton said. "I want to be a part of a program I can make an immediate impact in and play as soon as possible. I'd like to have the opportunity to prove myself worthy and help the team right away. The education and having a support group to assist in my education will also be a big factor in my decision."
Thornton wears No. 10 for the Liberty County Panthers. They face a tough challenge this week in Geogia AAAA competition from Wayne County featuring one of the nation's top quarterbacks in Greyson Lambert, a Virginia commitment.
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