Wide receiver Dont'e Thornton Jr. of Mount Saint Joseph is the consensus top-rated offensive skill player in the state of Maryland. At 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, the 4-star student athlete is a top target for many of the country's elite college programs.
We went "4 downs" with Thornton, where nothing was out of bounds.
Back in the day when I played, many, many moons ago, we didn't have wireless headphones, we listened to music on CD players, so it was challenging to carry that on the field. I'm always interested in what student athletes are listening to pre-game.
Who are your top five musical artists of all time?
DT: That's tough, because the thing about me is I didn't really listen to any of the old school rappers.
Sooooooo, Jay, BIG and Pac are considered "old school" now? Has the Hip-Hop game completely passed me by? Ok, they can all be present day.
DT: OK, so I'm going with Future, Young Thug, NBA YoungBoy, Lil Baby and Rod Wave. YoungBoy is number one.
First of all, I've never even heard of a "Rod Wave" and I couldn't name one NBA YoungBoy song if my life depended on it. I am officially old. Let's take this to the gridiron before someone revokes my Hip-Hop card entirely.
You are one of the most highly recruited student athletes in the nation. At last check you had earned upwards of 30 offers, including Maryland, Penn State and Ohio State. When it comes down to decision-making time, what key factors must a school offer in order for Dont'e Thornton Jr. to call it home?
DT: Number one is education, of course. Next is I need the program to have a great family atmosphere -- I want to know that if I go to this school and anything happens to me that I'll have a coach or teammate there for me at any moment.
The next most important piece are the relationships between coach and player. When I take visits to a game or practice, I want to see how the coaches interact with the players and vice versa.
Lastly, I want to be in a great offense that's going to throw the ball… I also want a great running game, so it'll be easy for me… and a quarterback, I need a great quarterback.
Passing attack, strong run game and a big time QB -- that's a heck of a grocery list. I'm certain the teams in your top 12 are working on gathering all those ingredients as we speak.
Let's touch on what's led you to being so highly coveted. You have the speed to take the top off of defenses and your size makes you a consistent red zone threat. Who would you say you've modeled your game after?
DT: No doubt it's Julio Jones. We're both big receivers with speed. Before him, I'd say it was Megatron [Calvin Johnson]. In watching him, I learned to always be aggressive with jump balls. Megatron taught me how important it is for a wide receiver to high-point the ball.
A Megatron reference! You're a real student of the game bro, I respect that.
I can't let you out of here without asking this. You're one of the top wideouts in all of high school football and I have to imagine that a portion of what has allowed you to get to this point is your competitive nature.
That said, how did you feel about teams choosing not to play St. Frances, and them subsequently being pushed out of the MIAA?
DT: The last time we played them was my freshman year. When I saw that they were kicked out, I wasn't actually mad, but at the same time I wanted to play against them because I knew it would be some good comp. I've never backed down from any challenge my whole life.
I really wanted to play them, and I still want to play them to this day.
If it ever happens, I will be there. Thank you for your time Dont'e. 'Preciate ya bro!
Four Downs with Mount Saint Joseph 4-star wide receiver Donte Thornton Jr. originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington