Troup’s Thornton achieves his goal
Published 1:29 am Saturday, May 18, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
For Troup’s Kaliff Thornton, succeeding on the football field has only been part of the battle.
Thornton has long wanted to play college football, and he knew for that to become a reality he’d have to make it happen in the class room as well.
Fortunately for Thornton, he has indeed been a success story in football, and in academics, and that will allow him to fulfill his goal of becoming a college-football player.
Thornton, a defensive lineman, made it official last week when he signed a letter of intent to join the football program at Victor Valley Community College in California.
There to share the moment with Thornton was his coach for the past four seasons, Tanner Glisson.
“What I’m most proud about is how he fought in the class room,” Glisson said. “It was a grind for him in the class room. I don’t think he could just walk in the door. He had to walk in the door and study, he had to walk in the door and work, he had to walk in the door and take notes. That has been something he has worked on since the day he got here. To see that come to fruition is a great accomplishment.”
For Thornton, it was all about establishing a goal, and then working hard to achieve it.
“Anything is possible if you put your mind to it,” Thornton said. “Coming into high school, I knew I was going to struggle a little bit, but I always kept my mind positive, and I did it. I’m about to graduate from high school.”
As a football player, Thornton is a high achiever.
An interior defensive lineman, Thornton has been a force, and he’s had a lot to do with the Tigers’ success the past few years.
Last season, Thornton started every game for a team that went 12-2 and reached the semifinals of the Class AAAA state playoffs.
“He’s very strong, and agile for that size,” Glisson said. “When he came in he was weighing around 300 pounds, and we asked him to get down to 280. He did that. He’s really a big part of why we went to the semifinals and broke the school record for most wins.”
Glisson began making an impact on the program as a freshman when he was the defensive most valuable player on the junior-varsity team.
By his sophomore season Thornton was a key member of the varsity team, and he worked diligently on his skills, as well as his strength.
Thornton showed off his strength when he set a school record in the squat with 615 pounds.
With everything Thornton has going for him, it wasn’t a surprise that he had colleges pursuing him. One of the schools was Victor Community College, and the recruiting process has been going on for months.
“Three months ago, they were calling me, saying they were watching film,” Thornton said. “They said you have a chance to come out and start with your size and your strength. So, I’m going to take advantage of that.”
Glisson was pleased to see Thornton take his time and not rush to sign somewhere.
“If you just want a little bit and play your cards right, some other things will open up for you, and that’s what Kaliff did,” Glisson said. “He waited his turn and picked the right place, and now it’s all going to be taken care of.”
While staying close to home is a priority for some players, Thornton’s goal was to spread his wings and see a different part of the country.
“I want to explore the world,” Thornton said. “I feel like going to California will be the start of it. I want to go far away from home, so that’s why I’m going to a school in California.”
When Thornton was a freshman, the Tigers went 1-9, but they’re 29-8 the past three seasons.
The 2018 season was the best one in the history of the program.
“I take a lot of pride in it,” Thornton said of the turnaround the program made. “It took us a long time to get here. We believe in ourselves, and we keep grinding. Coach G put us in a great place, and we worked hard and it paid off.”
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