Kids grow up fans of schools all the time.
They dream of playing for their favorite team, but in most cases they never get the chance to attend that school.
Prichard (Al.) Vigor defensive end Justin Thornton received the call two weeks ago saying he was offered by his dream school the Florida Gators.
On Saturday, the 6-foot 5, 215-pound Thornton was able to visit his dream school with his mom for the first time.
“It was wonderful,” Thornton said. “It was everything I dreamed of and I’m feeling the Gators. It was a dream come true to put on the Florida jersey and walked into the swamp.”
The jersey Thornton picked up was number 4, the number he wore in youth football when he became a Gators fan.
“My mom asked me, ‘Justin why do you want number 4?’” Thornton said. “And I said mom, it’s the number I was wearing when I became a Florida fan.”
Thornton doesn’t have to worry about the coaches keeping his number for him as they assured him on this visit they would hold number 4 for Thornton.
This morning didn’t start off the way Thornton planned as he had car trouble that forced him to be the last prospect to arrive in Gainesville.
Despite the wait, Thornton said the coaches were waiting on him and proceeded to give him the red carpet treatment once he arrived.
“They said it was the worth wait and we got a lot of one on one time,” Thornton said. “Coach (Will) Muschamp and the rest of the coaches were great. I loved all of them and they made me feel at home. Coach Muschamp sat down with my mom and me and talked about the program , the football team and how the academics worked.
Academics are huge for Thornton’s mom and according to Thornton, Florida sold her while on the tour.
“She loved the academic program,” Thornton said. “She felt so comfortable there and she told me Florida was better than Florida State. She loved the coaches and coach Muschamp too.”
Growing up in Alabama, Thornton’s mom is a big Crimson Tide fan. However, after this trip, Thornton has his mom blessing.
“She told me she was comfortable with me going to Florida if I wanted too,” Thornton said. “That was big to me to have her say that as that’s what I wanted out of this trip.”
Thornton plans to visit Florida again this spring or summer and will be back for a game or two next fall.