Prospect: WR Dont'e Thornton
Status: SI All-American candidate
Vitals: 6-foot-5, 185 pounds
School: Baltimore (Md.) Mount Saint Joseph
Committed to: Oregon
Projected Position: Wide Receiver
Frame: Excellent length and broad shoulders. Big hands and tight torso. Impressive definition throughout his frame and has room to add on mass at 185 pounds.
Athleticism: Works with good body quickness in his releases. Solid speed release versus off-coverage to climb to toes of cornerbacks. Good balance and lower-half coordination. Surprising strength. Has functional power when inserting himself in throwing lanes when attacking interior coverage, and also as a runner and when fitting and sustaining as a blocker.
Instincts: Possesses a good release plan to alter his approach versus press-man coverage. Has a shuffle, 2-step and walk release all in his bag and uses a club/swipe with his hands. He also flashes a motor/foot fire technique in his early stem. Does a good job of motoring down on stop routes with a solid feel for on-top/off-coverage on the perimeter. Excellent downfield tracking of balls with his eyes and his leaping ability to win on fades, back-shoulders and in crowds.
Polish: Currently aligns mostly as the X to the left side of the formation, with minimal time as a big slot or inside as 2 to coverage. Route tree is mainly posts and stops, along with occasional digs, speed outs, and some quick-game concepts. Needs to continue improving on selling his vertical stems in route phase in his posts and intermediate routes. He needs to continue to improve his natural initial hand positioning to pluck more consistently.
Bottom Line: Thornton is a big receiver who has good speed, strength, toughness and a fairly solid release plan versus press coverage. He can track throws downfield with his eyes and make plays by out-muscling defenders at the catch point with his big body. He projects as a lead “X” receiver in a college offense with a downfield passing game.