No. 3 WR Dont'e Thornton Commits to Oregon, Talks Ducks
John Garcia, Jr.
Oregon just got bigger, faster and stronger.
6-foot-5, 205-pound Baltimore (Md.) Mount St. Joseph wide receiver Dont'e Thornton announced his verbal commitment to the Duck football program Tuesday evening.
"I'm going to Oregon, the University of Oregon," Thornton told SI All-American. "It's been my dream school since I was about five or six. Once I had the offer from Oregon and took the visit there...I knew from the moment I stepped foot on campus that I was going to end up at Oregon.
"I really couldn't pass up on it."
Mario Cristobal's staff won out over several programs including finalists Notre Dame and Arizona State. The recent run UO has been on in the Pac-12, both on the field and in recruiting, played a part.
But so did what creates the first impression of the Duck program for so many.
"It was my dream school when I was younger, for one, you know the young kids always love their uniforms," Thornton said with a laugh. "But De'Anthony Thomas and Marcus Mariota were my favorite college players at the time, I used to watch them a lot. It made them my favorite team."
The newest member of the Oregon class spent time in Eugene in the summer of 2019 and his fandom paired with his recruitment came full circle. At the time he was verbally committed to Penn State but the camp time in the Pacific Northwest started to change his mind.
"I never really thought I would actually step foot on that campus, I was mind-blown with it," he said. " Now I have a great relationship with the offensive and defensive coaches but I really feel it with Coach Cristobal. From the first moment I've met him, he's been a true person to me. He's kept his word. I feel like he's a great coach and person.
"He's about his players and football. He cares about his players, that's one of the main things everybody I talk to says. Coach Cristobal really cares about his players and it's one of the main things that affected my decision. I want to get a great education, play at a high level of football and then if anything ever happens to me I know my coaches and teammates will be there for me."
The relationships Thornton has built with those around the UO program extend to fellow class of 2021 recruits and others planning on playing there next year.
"From the day I went up there on campus, I still talk to players there to this day," he said. "The people I'm closest to are Keith Brown, Seven McGee and Ty Thompson. Terrance Ferguson, the tight end commit, Troy Franklin -- I talk to a lot of people. The whole class that's committed, I talk to them.
"Me and my guy Daymon David are going to shock the city and the world when we go to Oregon."
The Ducks feature plenty of pass catchers in the top 10 recruiting class, but the newest member feels he brings something different to the table.
"In my class we already have a lot of playmakers committed, but I feel I bring a receiving end of a big body but with the speed and route-running of a small receiver," he said. "I'm very versatile, can play any position on the field, tight end, wide receiver, slot. It doesn't matter.
"I'm gonna get it done."
Thornton will enroll at Oregon in January.
More SI All-American Coverage