Player to Watch: Tommy Thornton

Last season, as a freshman, Tommy Thornton finished the season as the starting quarterback for Ponderosa High School. The talented freshman did a solid job and is now ready for his first complete varsity season.

PrepColorado: What is your favorite thing about playing high school football?

Tommy Thornton: I love playing with and against kids that I have known since elementary school, and developing a lasting bond and friendship with teammates.  I love the competitive nature of sports, especially the physical aspect of football and specifically the mental toughness needed to be a quarterback.


What were your stats from last season?

"Varsity 69% completion, 5 TDs, and 540 passing yards, 1 come from behind victory.

JV 79% completion, 26 TD / vs 5 INT, 1,895 passing yards, 10-0 victories."


What honors or awards did you receive?

"This year I received the JV Offensive Player of the Year, which is cool because my teammates voted on this.  I also got to skip freshman football and go right to JV / Varsity."


What is your official height and weight?

"6-1 and 180 pounds. I am expected to grow to be about 6-3 when I am a junior or senior."


What is your greatest football memory?

"In 5th grade I had a "trifecta" with a touchdown pass, catch, and run.  This year it was a varsity come from behind victory against our arch rivals, Mountain Vista.  Had a 96 yard drive with less than 4 minutes left to tie the game.  I threw the tying TD pass and we won in overtime."


What are your personal goals for the season?

"I would like to have 2,000 + yards passing and 500+ yards rushing. My goal is to complete over 70% of my passes and throw for 25 or more touchdowns while leading our team to at least 10 victories.  Hopefully winning a state championship!"


How will you prepare for this upcoming season? Will you attend any camps?

"I am in a weightlifting program after school at my high school (Ponderosa) and I am also working with a former NFL trainer on my speed and agility four days a week. I am planning on going to some Darin Slack Quarterback camps this summer for my mechanics, and also I am planning on attending the Notre Dame camp this summer." 


Will you go to any combines?

"I am not sure yet but I am sure I will go to local combines and make sure my training is paying off."


What aspect of your game have you really worked hard to improve? What area would you like to keep improving on?

"I have really worked hard on improving my timing and decision making.  I knew that going from youth football to varsity would be quite a jump regarding the speed of the game, so I worked very hard on making quick and good decisions.  In addition, my QB coach has worked with me to make my release faster and to have even more explosiveness on my drops. I would like to keep improving on my ability to read defenses and to know the weakness of specific zones."


Who are some of your teammates that people need to watch out for?

"Mike Segura, going into his senior year, was our RB and inside receiver.  He has tremendous hands, and speed.   He was our go to guy last year and always came up big for us when we needed it. Frankie Camp is going to be a junior, he is a DB and is extremely fast and has great covering and tackling skills.  He's a kid to watch!"


Name one teammate you really respect and why?

"Last year one of our QB's, Chris Coviello, who was a senior didn't receive a lot of playing time, but he never once complained and was one of the hardest working kids on the team. He could care less about his success but rather he cared about the team and our success.  He really taught me about sacrifice, un-selfishness and preparation."


What are your goals regarding playing football in college?

"My goal is to get a major D1 scholarship to play quarterback. Some schools would include Notre Dame or ASU. I really would enjoy playing in the PAC 10 or Big 12."


Would you consider staying in state to play in college?

"Yes most definitely, I really like Coach Hawkins.  I've met him a number of times at the annual CU Passing Jamboree.  He's an excellent coach and leader."


Who is the best player you ever played against? Why?

"Kain Colter of Cherry Creek High School. He put on an amazing performance against us in the playoffs and he is a guy who has a great arm and can make plays with his feet.  T.J. Shantz was pretty good too, he hits like a freight train."


Name one team who you really respect and why?

"I really respect the Arizona Cardinals, they have been a joke of a franchise for many years now, and with Ken Whisenhunt and Kurt Warner they lost their expectation of losing and put a spectacular run together in the post season this year.  Having lived in Arizona and being born there, I always like to watch the Cardinals and the Sun Devils."


What other sports do you play?

"I normally play basketball, but this year I decided to use the winter to lift and gain weight. I will most likely play next year.  I'm also playing some club volleyball just to work on my vertical and have some fun."


What are your best max lifts in the bench, squat, power clean and 40 yard dash?

"Currently my best bench is 215, Squat 250, Power clean 165, and my forty is a 4.94 on a handtime.  I recently did a 4.27 on the 5-10-5 shuttle."


How do you think your coach would describe you as a player?

"I think he would describe me as a very hardworking, respectful kid, who can deliver under pressure.  Also, someone who is a very team oriented guy who is thinking about the good of the team before my personal stats or situation."


 Who is your favorite pro athlete and why?

 "My favorite pro athlete is Kurt Warner. I have loved him ever since he was with the Rams. I read his book last year and it proves that with hard work anything is possible and it also shows how his faith has carried him through in the good times and in the bad. In a football sense he makes great decisions and is extremely accurate. He proves to anyone who has ever been involved with football that the quarterback doesn't need to be the most athletic guy, but rather someone with good leadership skills, and a great understanding of their offense, and who is mentally and physically tough."


What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Who did you receive it from?

"My dad always says that discipline weighs ounces and regret weighs tons.  This is just saying, do not waste your opportunity that God has given you.  Also a youth coach once told me … "good, better, best – never let it rest, until your good is better and your better, best." "


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