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Recruiting

Alabama DB prospect, mom love Clemson

Class of 2019 defensive back Ray Thornton has been to Clemson a few times over the years, and the prospect from Central High in Phenix City, Ala., has become a big fan of the Tigers.

“I like the program and how it is run,” Thornton told The Clemson Insider. “I also like the expectations and the commitment of the players. They also treat their players well off the field. Everything they need is on campus.”

Thornton, who projects at safety, most recently traveled to campus in June to compete for the final day of the Dabo Swinney Camp.

Prior to that, he visited Clemson last year with his mother, who likewise left impressed.

“She loves the coaching staff,” Thornton said. “She feels at home when she’s there. She feels like the head coach (Dabo Swinney) can relate to the players. She also feels like I would be taken care of and in good hands.”

Thornton (6-2, 195) has an offer from Mississippi State, while he is drawing interest from Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Georgia.

He excelled at the Swinney Camp last month and caught the attention of safeties coach Mickey Conn in between separate camp stops at Alabama, where he was also one of the top performers.

“I feel like I’m an all-around safety,” Thornton said. “I can play anywhere the coach wants me. I can come down and cover a receiver, and I can also stay on top and play the ball.”

Thornton hails from the same school as five-star wide receiver Justyn Ross, one of Clemson’s top targets in the 2018 class, and they have struck up a good relationship.

They sometimes discuss different schools, and Clemson has come up in their conversation.

“We both have looked into it and talked about the program,” Thornton said. “It’s a great school. We have also talked about other colleges.

“From us talking, he likes the program and how they treat the players on and off the field.”

Florida, Alabama and Clemson are early favorites in the recruiting process for Thornton, who grew up liking the Gators.

Thornton, having thoroughly enjoyed his experiences at Clemson, said an offer from the Tigers would be big.

“Knowing that I got an offer from them would make me work even harder,” he said. “It would be great because they would believe in me to play on their team. It’s also one of the best programs in college football. It would be a great fit for me, also knowing that my mother loves Clemson.”

Thornton also camped at Georgia, Auburn, Mississippi State and Florida this summer.

He transferred to Central from Columbus (Ga.) this offseason.

 

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