- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
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It will be a Mother’s Day to remember for ESPN 150 defensive end Justin Thornton (Prichard, Ala./Vigor), who committed to Auburn on Sunday over the likes of LSU and Texas A&M. He becomes commitment No. 7 for the Tigers.
“It’s like a big, happy family down there,” Thornton said. “Every school is a great school. All the schools I’ve been to have great things going on, but I just felt like Auburn was the best fit for me at this moment in time.”
Thornton made the decision at his church in front his family, specifically in front of his mother.
“It was just to make my mom proud,” he said. “I know it’s a special day for her. I know I made her proud, my grandmother proud and my other grandma proud.”
At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, Thornton is an imposing presence on the football field. He has the look of a prototypical pass rusher at the next level, but Vigor head coach Ashley Johnson believes he’s more than that.
“He’s a very disciplined player,” Johnson said. “He’s just not a pass rusher, a guy coming off the edge using talent only. He’s a good technician. He’s learned a lot of football. He understands how to read lineman, how to play traps, how to play the run game well. I think he’s a fairly complete player for his age.”
Thornton joins high school teammate Deshaun Davis in Auburn’s 2014 class. The Tigers also landed a commitment from ESPN 150 linebacker Tre Williams, another Mobile, Ala., prospect, earlier in the week.
“I already know coaches up there from Mobile, but to know people on the field, going to war with me every Saturday, that’s big,” Thornton said. “Tre and Deshaun, they’re both great players and I will enjoy the next three or four years, playing on the field with them.”
Of Auburn’s seven commitments, five are from the state of Alabama and four come from the Mobile area where AU assistant coach Dameyune Craig serves as the lead recruiter.
The future is beginning to look bright for the Tigers.
“Hopefully, we’re going to have the No. 1 class, and other teams better watch out because Auburn’s back on the rise,” Thornton said.
The Vigor star will visit Auburn later in the month for its Big Cat Weekend.