A year ago, Mike Thornton was one of those countless spring practice stories about a guy finally getting his chance.
From seldom-used reserve to first-team nose guard with a cute nickname—defensive lineman Garrison Smith called him “Meatball” because of his round shape– to boot.
It turned out the 6-foot-1, 290-pound Thornton still didn’t get on the field much for Georgia last season.
The now fifth-year senior played in 11 games, making five tackles with one sack.
“The younger guys were pushing hard, and I guess they just beat me out,” Thornton said.
There’s a new defensive coaching staff, but Thornton doesn’t sound overly concerned about trying to pass Chris Mayes on the depth chart this spring.
He talks about helping to “coach up the young guys as best as I can.”
He’s getting his reps but he’s trying to set the example for his teammates moreso than trying to land a starting job.
Thornton says he “knows it’s my fifth year and they have younger guys that they need to develop. Whatever role they want me to play, I’ll play it. I just want to give it all to the team and get my degree and hopefully pursue the NFL after that.”
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