Former Liberty County High School football player Shadrach Thornton certainly has much to celebrate this holiday season.
According to the North Carolina State athletic website, Thornton, a freshman with the Wolfpack, led the team in rushing with 655 yards this season and was the first member of the Pack since 2002 to have three-straight games of more than 100 yards rushing.
The Wolfpack play Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl at noon Dec. 31 at noon on ESPN.
After firing former coach Tom O’Brien, N.C. State has hired a new head coach. Dave Doeren was hired away from Northern Illinois on Dec. 1, according to ESPN.com. Doeren coached the Huskies to a BCS bowl this fall.
Thornton told newsobserver.com that he was impressed with the incoming coach.
“Coach Doeren told us that his door is always open,” Thornton said. “That’s kind of big right there. It’s not every day that you can come and just go up and talk to the head coach about anything and build a relationship with him personally. Some coaches try to keep their distance, but he’s a player’s coach and that’s something that I like.
“It’s pretty different … You didn’t really get that from coach O’Brien. If you wanted to talk to him, you could. But guys just didn’t. But coach Doeren is kind of like a position coach, but as the head coach.”
Doeren announced he would retain running-back coach Desmond Kitchings. Kitchings is credited for guiding Thornton this season.