April 14, 2013

Bears pursuing the best

When Baylor is going into the reigning BCS national champion backyard and offering highly touted recruits, that's one thing.
When the recruit is interested enough to want to travel to Texas and visit, it should definitely get people's attention.

Four star Prichard, Al. defensive end Justin Thornton said late Saturday he's planning on traveling to Texas to visit both Baylor and Texas A&M.

Vigor High School is enjoying spring break the week of April 22. Thornton will travel with his father Thomas to College Station on April 23 and Waco on April 24. This will be his first trip to Texas.

"Baylor offered about three weeks ago,'' Thornton said. "They're a good uprising team. I watched them a lot last year. I saw how they took apart Kansas State. I'm interested in who they are.''

Thornton (6-5, 225) is ranked No. 112 in the Rivals 250 and rated No. 10 among on national weakside defensive ends. He's been in touch with Baylor linebackers coach Jim Gush. All of this is a bit interesting since he recently named a top five of LSU, Florida, Florida State, Tennessee and Auburn. However, the visit might be enough for him to re-evaluate everything. He isn't close to making a decision yet.

"I was surprised to hear from Baylor because you don't hear a lot about them in Alabama,'' Thornton said. "But I want to see some other schools out of state. I'm comfortable going to play outside of Alabama. I want to see a good coaching staff, play in a comfortable atmosphere and know they have a good academic program.''

Vigor runs out of the 3-4 where Thornton dominated at defensive end in 2012, his first year to start. He collected 10 sacks and roughly 20 QB pressures. He estimated the latter number but also said, "I had a lot of them.'' As the season wore on, he faced more double teams than one-ones.

Of course, Baylor bases out of the 4-2-5 but has experimented with the 3-4 in each of the last two seasons. While Baylor's defense took its share of criticism in 2010-11 and the first half of 2012, things appeared to turn in the second half when the Bears won five of their last six and beat UCLA in the Holiday Bowl, 49-26.

"I'm working a lot on all my drills,'' he said. " I feel like I'm smooth with a lot of things. I want to get to 245 my senior year. It's reachable. Baylor's told me there's a chance to start, but I have to work hard on my side.''




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