May 9, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The University of Southern Mississippi football's Khyri Thornton was selected in the third round (85th overall) of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. He is the first player selected in the NFL Draft in the Todd Monken Era. Thornton becomes the 22nd draft pick of the Golden Eagles since 2000.
The Black and Gold have now had three consecutive years with players drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft - Thornton (3rd round - Green Bay Packers), Jamie Collins (2nd round - New England Patriots) and Lamar Holmes (3rd round - Atlanta Falcons).
A 2013 Second Team All-Conference USA selection, Thornton, a senior defensive lineman from Panama City, Fla., played and started in 11 games for the Golden Eagles this season. He recorded 39 tackles on the year, including 16 solo tackles and 23 assisted tackles. Thornton boasted 6.5 tackles for loss including a half a sack for eight yards. He was credited for a team-best four quarterback hurries. Thornton was also a finalist for the C Spire Conerly Award for the most outstanding collegiate football player in the state of Mississippi. At Southern Miss' end of the year football banquet, Thornton was named the Jeff Bower Team MVP, as well as, one of the four recipients of the Reggie Collier Team Captain Award.
As a junior, Thornton started 10 games and appeared in all 12 as the team's primary defensive tackle. He finished the campaign with 36 tackles (23 solo, 13 assisted) and 9.5 tackles for loss, good for second-best on the team. The Panama City native had one interception come in the Western Kentucky game and returned it for 12 yards. In addition, he had one sack and forced fumble
In 2011, Thornton played in all 14 games with seven starts including the first six games of the season. In the 2011 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Thornton added two tackles including a half-sack for a loss of a yard and one quarterback hurry. He recorded 24 tackles (12 solo, 12 assisted) and 9.0 tackles for loss. Thornton had 1.5 sacks for 10 yards and forced one fumble. Thornton also recovered a fumble and returned it nine yards.
As a redshirt freshman, Thornton was a Conference USA All-Freshman team selection. He had 17 tackles (seven solos), including a season-best three tackles against Prairie View and two tackles in five other games. Thornton saw action in all 13 games and registered 5.0 tackles for loss for 14 yards and 2.5 sacks for 11 yards.
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