Ray Thornton out of Central Phenix City, Alabama has signed with the Clemson Tigers. The 3-star Linebacker/Safety prospect hails from the same high school as former 4-star WR, and current Clemson Tiger, Justyn Ross. Continuing a pipeline to one of Alabama’s most talented High School programs can only be seen as a good thing. Clemson beat out Auburn in order to earn his commitment over the Summer, however, Thornton always knew which school he wanted to attend.
This was an offer that Thornton worked his butt off for, camping multiple times at Clemson in order to prove his mettle. But this isn’t just a “feel good” offer that Dabo has been known to give out. Thornton can play. Ray projects best as a nickel LB/Safety, and possesses the versatility to be valuable in the future. Thornton is long with good closing speed (and an impressive shuttle time of 4.22 seconds); traits that will serve him well when he has to drop into coverage. He is physical, and has enough growth potential to be able to play in the box one day.
His 24/7 Composite ranking of 604th in the country is probably about accurate. Thornton will be valuable in passing situations in the future, and will provide Brent Venables with another versatile toy to use in his Defense.
I was really happy for Thornton when he got this offer. This is the offer he wanted and he camped and clawed for it. It also continues our potential pipeline with powerhouse Bama program Central High School in Phenix City. This is where Clemson landed Justyn Ross and have target WR Williams in 2020.
The offer to Ray was a bit strange in this class because Thornton, Phillips, and Zanders all profile as similar players who might play the Simmons cheetah position/SAM rather than sticking as true Safeties (although the free safety in BV’s system is more of a run stopper). Thornton is at his best as a run stuffer coming up and hitting. He helped lead Central to a state title in Alabama.