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Monday, January 28, 2013
Watch List DE visits Bama, names leader

By Greg Ostendorf

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- ESPN Watch List defensive Justin Thornton (Mobile, Ala./Vigor) has been to Alabama multiple times -- most recently for the Iron Bowl in November -- but he saw a different side of the Crimson Tide program over the weekend.

And even though he enjoyed the visit, his leader still hails from the ACC.

“The weekend went real good,” Thornton said. “I got to see more of Alabama than I usually do. I got to see the school, the cafeteria, the dorm rooms. I got to meet the coaches one-on-one. I got to meet more players that I didn’t know.

“I like the surroundings, the environment because that’s the type of the environment I want to be in with the school I want to go to.”

Although he’s met Nick Saban before, Saturday’s junior day visit marked the the first time that Thornton had sat down with the Alabama head coach. Saban just told him to keep working on his grades and that the staff really wanted him.

“It was an honor,” Thornton said. “In the offseason, he looks more like a business man -- but it was cool, sitting down with Coach Saban. He’s a real cool coach. He knows how to win games. He puts people in the NFL, and he feels strongly about the education. That’s what I like the most about him.”

On his visit, Thornton saw fellow Mobile, Ala., standout Tre Williams and former teammate Rodney Stafford among others. He made the trip with his mother, who is a longtime Tide fan, but Alabama still has some work to do to land the in-state star.

“As of right now, Florida State has the early edge because I really know Coach [Jeremy] Pruitt, and I want to be somewhere in Florida,” Thornton said. “I really want to go to the University of Florida because that’s a school that I’ve been wanting to go to since I was little.”

Thornton plans to visit Florida State this weekend and is trying to set up a visit to Florida for next month.

He currently holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, LSU and South Carolina. He thinks Arkansas, Clemson, Georgia and Texas A&M could all be next to offer.