Posted: 9:41 pm Wednesday, August 4th, 2010
By Matt Porter
Glades Day cornerback J.T. Thornton, the No. 23 prospect on the Big Board, committed to Illinois Tuesday night, said coach Pete Walker.
“I think it was the excitement of playing Big Ten football, and liking the coaching staff,” said Walker. “He really liked the coaches, and liked what they had to say about the familiy atmosphere [at Illinois]. He felt comfortable, him and his family.”
Thornton said it was part feeling comfortable with the coaching staff, part seeing himself as a fit on the roster.
“They have many graduating DBs,” said Thornton. “They need help and I feel like I’m the one that’s going to help them. Plus they only had room for one more DB commit.”
Thornton added he “was sold on [Illinois head coach] Ron Zook,” and he wanted to make the choice before he started fall practice with Glades Day.
“I’m ready for recruiting to be over right about now,” he said.
The highlight of Thornton’s high school football career so far came during last year’s Class 1B state championship. Thornton picked off Warner Christian quarterback Shelton Willis in overtime to seal the Gators’ 27-20 win.
Thornton chose Illinois over West Virginia and Marshall. The 6-foot, 175-pound senior is a physical corner with good speed. His 40-yard dash time is 4.48 seconds, according to Walker.
One voice that might have swayed him: Illinois freshman receiver Darius Millines, who starred at American Heritage before signing with the Illini.
All commitments are non-binding until national signing day on Feb. 2.
Updated Thursday, Aug. 5 at 4:29 p.m. with comments from Thornton.