Gulf Breeze, FL---This week in Indianapolis, NFL hopefuls will be going through the paces at the NFL Scouting Combine! Among those hoping to impress and improve his draft stock is 2008 Bay grad Khyri Thornton!
Back on Friday nights with the Bay Tornadoes, Khyri Thornton steamrolled over any obstacle in his way. It was the obstacles off the field that made his path the NFL's doorstep tougher.
"Actually I think it's a blessing," says Thornton, on overcoming his challenges to this point. It's a lot of hard work, coming from where I've came from. Not qualifying out of high school, going to military school, redshirting, Florida State pulling my scholarship. I mean, it's been a journey but every great thing has stepping stones and I've been through a lot of stepping stones."
Those steps led him to Southern Miss, where Thornton shined while his team as a whole struggled. Khyri refused to give in. He worked harder.
"Adversity shows a man to himself. I was going out there every day or every play and when I was getting double teamed or triple teamed, I was doing it for a purpose. I was doing it for my team. Cause a lot of people would've given their right arm to even be in the position I was in to play college football.
So imagine all the people wishing they could be in his shoes now. Thornton is a projected 3rd to 4th round pick before this week's NFL Scouting Combine. When asked if was a dream come true, Khyri couldn't help but smile.
"Yes it is to be honest with you. I never saw myself doing anything else other than playing college football, and it means a lot to me.
Training at EXOS where he's working on his 40 time, bench press, and explosiveness, Khyri's floored his trainers with not only his size and athleticism, but his desire and work ethic.
"He walked in, he's just a very impressive specimen of an athlete," says EXOS Performance Manager, Anthony Hobgood of the former Bay standout. "He's gonna do really well. He's a great guy that's worked really hard and I think we just put the final touches on him to make sure he goes and he's prepared as best he can be."
All the reps, the sprints, the drills, the sweat. It's led Khyri to realize this is his moment. And he's ready to take it.
"I feel more confident," said Thornton. "I feel like I belong here. I feel like I put in the work and the effort as anybody else. Yeah I went to Southern Miss, yeah our last two years were bad, but people will find you if you can play."
Khyri heads to Indianapolis for the combine Friday. He and the other defensive lineman begin to work out there Monday.