The North Carolina State Wolfpack are looking to contend for the ACC Atlantic title, but are going to need steady production and leadership from senior running back Shadrach Thornton to make that a reality.
Thornton’s story began when he was only ten years old; his oldest brother and biggest motivator was killed in a hit-and-run. His brother would serve to be inspiration for Thornton to push harder, and have a reason to step on the field with a bigger purpose than just winning a football game.
That purpose eventually earned him a scholarship to play for NC State, where bad decision-making would put his football career in jeopardy. Thornton was charged with a misdemeanor assault in 2013, and then was later suspended for marijuana possession. Some charges were dismissed, others not, but he found himself “earning” a spot back on the team after these off field issues.
Fast forward two years to the present, and Thornton is facing a fork in the road. Going into his senior year, he looks to serve as a leader and role model, both on and off the field. Thornton claims that all of his legal issues are behind him, and has set towering goals for the upcoming season (1,000 yards rushing, ACC Title contention).
The Wolfpack’s coaches have had nothing but positive words for Thornton this year, raving about his added weight and power, along with his mentoring role for the younger backs. He’s been given a fresh start, and seems to be taking full advantage of it.
If Shadrach Thornton is truly the changed man he claims, and seems to be, this could end up being one of college football’s best feel-good stories. One thing is certain: Thornton will wear down and frustrate ACC defenses all year. College football fans can only hope that he follows his on-field performance up with off-field respectability that will be remembered for years to come.