Brandon Thornton Faces Auburn

Brandon Thornton Faces Auburn

Former Homewood (Ala.) sensation, Brandon Thornton, will start against the Auburn Tigers today at 11:30 at Scott Field in Starkville, (Miss.)

Brandon Thornton will step up to the starting role at running back after Anthony Dixon's hand surgery this week.

Thornton had an impressive high school career rushing for over 4,800 career yards and 87 touchdowns. He was an All-State player his junior and senior seasons and one of the premier backs in the southeast.

Thornton took some time with us this week to talk of his days at Homewood High School and his time at Mississippi State.

"I started the fifth game of my sophomore year against Jackson Olin," Thornton said of his prep career starting role. "My high school career was a good one. I enjoyed myself. Had fun. I wish I could go back to high school and play some high school ball."

Thornton's name and picture were usually splashed across the Birmingham paper on a weekly basis for his top performances for the Patriots. He was definitely known throughout the state, but recruiting was a different story.

"It was kind of slow," Thornton said about recruiting. "A lot of colleges were looking for big backs. I had a couple of offers from small schools and what not, but it was slow. I enjoyed it. It was frustrating, but for the most part I did enjoy it."

He now faces the Auburn Tigers and later in the season will face the Crimson Tide. He talks about his game facing his home state teams.

"It steps it up a little bit, but I try not to let that get to me," Thornton said. "Some players they get unfocused about that. I just try to stay focused and just play hard."

Thornton wanted to land in the SEC for his college career, and the Mississippi State Bulldogs gave him that chance.

"You get a lot of exposure, and it's real fun." The tempo and speed of the game is just sped up. At first it was hard to adjust from high school to the SEC with the speed and everything, but after a while I got used to it."

Thornton passed along some advice for high school players looking to make it to the next level.

"First comes school work, just work hard and do small things," he said. "Working out and just working at getting better at the things you need to get better at. Stay on the right track. Don't get off track.

Bulldog quarterback Tray Rutland takes the starting role against the Tigers stepping in for the injured Michael Hening, another former Alabama high school player. Thornton has faith in their new quarterback.

"He's going to come in and get the job done for us. Everything is going to work out--how it's supposed to work out," Thornton said.

The South Carolina game was a learning experience for all. The Bulldogs knew it was time to return to the practice field and film room to focus on improvements before the Auburn Tigers came to town.

"It was frustrating, but we've got to put that past us," Thornton said of the game. "It's a new week, we've got Auburn coming up. We just take it game by game. Put that behind us and move on."

Thornton is ready for Auburn to step on Scott Field and see if his Bulldogs have learned anything from the game with the Gamecocks.

"I'm looking forward to it. The whole team is looking forward to it. We've just got to get out here and just get better and work and do things better than we did in the South Carolina game."

Andrew Bone from Scout.com contributed to this report.

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