On Now
Coming Up
  • Sat., May. 02, 2015 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM CDT Packers' 2015 NFL Draft Party Evolution is located at 233 E. Chicago St., Milwaukee, Wis. Event parking is available in the parking structure next door (225 E. Chicago St.), where full day parking passes will be $10.
  • Sun., May. 03, 2015 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM CDT Jared Abbrederis appearance

    Staff Appreciation Week

  • Tue., May. 26, 2015 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM CDT Green Bay Packers Blood Drive

    Green Bay Packers Blood Drive

    Sponsor code – Packers

  • Sun., May. 31, 2015 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM CDT Packers Coaching School

    The Green Bay Packers are set to host the team’s second annual “Green Bay Packers Coaching School” at Lambeau Field on Sunday, May 31, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    The complimentary coaching school has a curriculum exclusively designed for youth football coaches, and can accommodate a maximum of 300 coaches. The event will feature innovative classroom sessions in the Lambeau Field Atrium, as well as on-field football instruction from top local high school and youth football coaches in the Don Hutson Center.

  • Sat., Jun. 06, 2015 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM CDT Junior Power Pack Kids Clinic The 18th annual Junior Power Pack Kids Clinic is set for Saturday, June 6, inside the Don Hutson Center, the Packers’ indoor practice facility.
  • Sat., Jun. 20, 2015 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM CDT Jared Abbrederis appearance 11th Annual Youth Football Golf Outing

News

Print
RSS

Packers were Khyri Thornton's favorite team growing up

Posted May 23, 2014

Southern Miss defensive lineman thrilled Green Bay drafted him in third round


GREEN BAY—Wisconsin native and wide receiver Jared Abbrederis wasn’t the only Packers draft pick to be selected by his favorite boyhood team.

Count defensive lineman Khyri Thornton as a longtime Packers follower whose dream came true on draft weekend, too.

“It’s a blessing right now. I couldn’t have asked to come to a better team, the Green Bay Packers,” Thornton said during last week’s rookie orientation. “Who wouldn’t want to come to the Packers? This was my favorite team growing up, my best friend’s favorite team. I’m enjoying it right now.”

The affinity stems from Thornton’s alma mater, Southern Miss. That’s where Brett Favre played, of course, but a few years after Favre was drafted by Atlanta, Thornton’s uncle, Tyrone Bolware, played there as well. Bolware was a fullback for the Golden Eagles from 1994-97.

So, by the time Thornton was eight years old, his uncle was wrapping up his Southern Miss career with a big win over Pitt in the Liberty Bowl, and Favre was winning his third straight NFL MVP award.

No wonder the Panama City, Fla., native had no interest in the home-state Dolphins or Buccaneers. He did initially try to play college football in Florida, but his scholarship to Florida State was rescinded after he failed to meet NCAA eligibility requirements. Then, a special committee at South Florida denied him entry to the school despite meeting NCAA qualifications.

So he took his game to – yup – Southern Miss, where he started on the defensive line the last three years before the Packers drafted him in the third round with the 85th overall pick.

The selection of Thornton continues the annual investment the Packers have been making in their defensive line. Noted by Director of College Scouting Brian Gutekunst for his “quick twitch,” he’s Green Bay’s fifth draft pick at the position in the last three years, joining Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels from 2012 and Datone Jones and Josh Boyd from 2013. Thornton is most familiar with Boyd, who played collegiately nearby at Mississippi State.

“I was always trying to compete with every defensive tackle in the state of Mississippi,” Thornton said. “I’m looking to learn from him and B.J. (Raji).”

Thornton probably fits best as a three- or five-technique, lining up on the outside shoulder of either the guard or tackle. But during the draft, defensive line coach Mike Trgovac didn’t rule out trying Thornton at the nose, as the Packers did with Boyd at times last year.

With Raji re-signing for just one year and Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly not currently on the roster, the Packers may soon need a long-term nose tackle. Thornton’s 304-pound frame would make him a longshot for that role but, in time, things could change.

As for right now, Thornton says he’ll play “anywhere I’m needed,” and if the numbers on the defensive line make for some tough roster decisions down the road, the Packers will be better for it.

“I’m just trying to catch up with the scheme and learn the plays to get where I want to be,” he said. “Playing time, it may depend on how fast I learn the scheme, how fast I learn the playbook.”

 
blog comments powered by Disqus

You May Also Be Interested in...

Recent Videos

  • Prospect Primer: DT Christian Covington, Rice

    (2:23) Posted 5 hours ago

    Packers.com presents 'Prospect Primer,' a video look at an assortment of draft-eligible players who attended the scouting combine in Indianapolis. Rice DT Christian Covington had four sacks among 11 ½ tackles for loss as a first-team All-Conference USA selection in 2013, his last full season after a knee injury cost him most of 2014.

  • Prospect Primer: C B.J. Finney, Kansas State

    (2:10) Posted 5 hours ago

    Packers.com presents 'Prospect Primer,' a video look at an assortment of draft-eligible players who attended the scouting combine in Indianapolis. Kansas State C B.J. Finney started 52 consecutive games in college, the last 51 at center, and was voted a team captain three times.

  • Prospect Primer: TE Blake Bell, Oklahoma

    (1:45) Posted Apr 24, 2015

    Packers.com presents 'Prospect Primer,' a video look at an assortment of draft-eligible players who attended the scouting combine in Indianapolis. Oklahoma TE Blake Bell played just one season at tight end after converting from quarterback, catching 16 passes for 214 yards and four touchdowns.