Former Liberty County High School football player Shadrach Thornton has a court date Aug. 22 and, depending on the outcome, the current North Carolina State Wolfpack running back’s career could be cloudy.
According to reports on backingthepack.com and the Charlotte Observer, Thornton, an incoming sophomore who is the Wolfpack’s top returning rusher, was arrested June 6 and charged with assault on a female, a misdemeanor as defined in the North Carolina court system.
The Observer website reported Sunday that the alleged incident happened June 5 at the campus library. The arrest warrant claims that Thornton and a woman, who identified herself as Thornton’s girlfriend, were in an argument at the library when Thornton grabbed the woman by the arm and pushed her against the wall.
The N.C. State Police report on the incident states that a university employee noticed Thornton and a woman in an argument at the library. The report also states that there were no visible signs of the alleged assault on the complainant, the Observer reported.
According to backingthepack.com, Thornton is scheduled to appear in Wake County court to address the charges.
In what appears to be the first open acknowledgement of the incident, N.C. State football coach Dave Doeren said in statement that Thornton had been suspended after the arrest but has worked his way back onto the team. The statement was issued Sunday at the Wolfpack’s “Meet the Pack” media day, according to the Observer.
“We were made aware of the situation in June, and Shadrach was suspended immediately,” Doeren said in the statement. “We have certain standards that we want our players to live by, on and off the field, and he did not live up to those standards.
“He had to earn his way back into team activities.”
Thornton participated at the Wolfpack’s first two practices and was at the team’s media event Sunday.
According to backthepack.com, Thornton still is listed as No. 2 on the running-back depth chart on the updated Wolfpack media guide. However, according to gopacks.com, the Wolfpack’s official athletic website, the updated list was released in April before the alleged incident took place.
As a true freshman last year, the 6-foot-1, 203-pound Thornton led the Wolfpack in rushing with 694 yards. Thornton, who didn’t play the first three games of last season, made his collegiate debut Sept. 22 by rushing for 145 yards on 21 carries against The Citadel. Thornton played in 10 games, including four starts, and finished the year ranked fourth in the Athletic Coast Conference in rushing. He rushed for more than 100 yards in four games; three of the 100-plus games happened back-to-back, which was the first time an N.C. State back hit that mark since 2002.
Thornton also made 30 receptions for 274 yards and a touchdown and averaged 98.7 all-purpose yards per game. In May, AthlonSports.com football editor Steven Lassan picked Thornton among his top-20 running backs in the ACC for the 2013 season.
At Liberty County High School, Thornton posted 4,345 career rushing yards before committing to the Wolfpack on national signing day in February 2012.