As a prep in Virginia, Thornton Jr. didn't even play sports, opting to spend his days not focused on what was important.
"I was basically a class clown and I had to go to an alternative high school," Thornton Jr. admitted to JCFootball.com recently. "I just had a lot of growing up to do and eventually, I realized football was what I wanted to do, so I got to work and did my best to make it happen."
Because he didn't play high school football, Thornton Jr. had to turn to junior college and he spent his freshman season at Globe before transferring to L.A. Valley.
"I had talked to a coach at Pierce for a period of time and he told me about Valley and after talking to coach Clayborne, it just seemed like the right opportunity for me," Thornton Jr. noted. "It was actually a pretty easy transition for me and it's been a good living situation for me too.
"I've missed my family of course, but I think it was pretty easy being around the people on my team. They have become my family."
As a redshirt sophomore this past season, Thornton Jr. played mostly inside, but he did move outside at times as well, finishing with 33 tackles and 2.5 tackles-for-loss in nine games.
"I was mainly inside, but I transitioned outside on different occasions," Thornton Jr. said. "The best part of my game is my coverage. I have good speed and I'm able to cover a lot of ground and my instincts are good too. I work really well in open space."
This offseason, Thornton has already gotten to work in the weight room to improve his strength and he's studying a lot of film on different defenses.
"I want to add size to my body to be able to really mix it up with those big guys up front," Thornton Jr. said. "I also want to work on my hips and be able to move around the field smoother and transition better."
On the recruiting front, Thornton Jr. is still waiting on his first offer, but he thinks he could be close with a few schools.
"The schools talking to me the most are Tuskegee, Eastern New Mexico and Indiana State," Thornton Jr. said. "They all should be getting word back to me but I don't really want to say that they have offered yet, because they really haven't officially offered at this point.
"The other schools that have been talking to me are UMass, Utah State, Prairie View A&M and Northeastern State.
"Theone visit I have set up is for Tuskegee on January 16th and Indiana State has been talking to me about making a visit there, but I haven't set it up officially yet."
Thornton Jr. will finish up his two-year degree in May and he will have two years to play two starting in the fall of 2016.
Chad Thornton Scout Profile