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August 21, 2008

Thornton picks Illlini

MORE: Thornton carries on in wake of tragedy

Illini offensive line coach Eric Wolford discovered 6-foot-5, 290-pound Oberlin (Ohio) offensive lineman Hugh Thornton last spring when he was in Ohio looking for talent. On Wednesday evening, the three star talent made his official commitment to Illinois.

Thornton told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that "I really connected with coach (Ron) Zook and his staff," said Thornton (6-5, 285), ranked by Rivals.com as the 29th best offensive tackle in the country. "They're more than just football coaches...more like father figures. I'm looking forward to working with them, especially (offensive line) coach Eric Wolford."

Thornton, who moved to Oberlin from Boise, Idaho in March, should fit in well at Illinois, Oberlin coach Dave McFarland said.

"I began calling college coaches as soon as I met him," McFarland said. "Some (coaches) thought that I was crazy, but coach Wilford liked what he saw of Hugh on tape. Illinois was the first school to offer Hugh a full scholarship. I'm excited for him."

Thornton said he will major in sociology.

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