After making all his final visits and outlining the pros and cons, Liberty County High School senior running back Shadrach Thornton verbally committed to North Carolina State University on Friday evening.
Thornton had given a verbal commitment to Kentucky in September, but he said he made his decision in haste. Thornton visited the Kentucky Wildcats on Sept. 23 but continued to make his official visits to North Carolina State, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech.
Thornton told reporters of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that N.C. State refused to give up on him, even though Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt were his clear leaders.
“That showed how much they wanted me, because I’m sure if I had told the same thing to Georgia Tech or Vanderbilt, they would’ve moved on to other players,” he said.
Thornton started to shine for the Panthers as early as his freshman season.
Coming in that season, he had 17 carries for 143 yards and a touchdown. But he also had a lot of determination and used the offseason to hit the weights and gain speed.
In his sophomore year, he posted his first of three consecutive 1,200-plus yards en route to 4,345 yards on 726 carries for his high school career.
As a senior this season, he broke the 1,500-yard mark with 1,738 yards on 243 carries.
Thornton scored 45 touchdowns and six 2-point conversions, caught 25 passes for 303 yards and was 25 of 61 in passing for 338 yards in his high school career.
“I really like the pro-style offense that North Carolina State runs, and I like (running backs) coach (Everette) Sands,” Thornton (6 feet 1, 200 pounds) told reporters. “After he saw my highlights, he was all over it. … Even when I took trips to other schools, he stayed on me and let me know how much he wanted me to play there.”
He added that he hopes to make an immediate impact for the Wolfpack.