02/21/2013 - Offensive linemen are expected to take on and fend off 300-pound rushers on each snap. And for Illinois Hugh Thornton, his wrestling background has helped develop his physical ability on the football field. "I think wrestling definitely has an influence on how I play," Thornton said. "It's physical, it's one-on-one, it's domination, and it's why I play the offensive line."
Thornton was a two-time Idaho state heavyweight wrestling champion as a sophomore and junior in high school. He moved to Oberlin, Ohio for his senior season of football and also finished third in the state of Ohio in wrestling at heavyweight. "I could have played defensive line in college, but at offensive line there is nothing like locking someone out and as hard as they want to get past you, they can't because you have good hips, good stability, good base. And all that stuff I learned in wrestling."
Thornton, who is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8 ranked guard and is projected to be a fifth round pick, also is receiving advice for former teammate guard Jeff Allen, who was a second round pick last year. "He texted me this morning and told me to enjoy the process and if I have any questions just ask him," Thornton said. "He's one of my best friends. And if I can get drafted in the second round I'd be happy as well." - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
01/24/2013 - 2013 Senior Bowl, OLine, Three up...Three down...3. Hugh Thornton, Illinois (6-3 ??, 313 pounds). The poor guy got whipped by Datone Jones in Monday's practice and hasn't had a good day since. Thornton has been pushed around a lot and doesn't seem to have a lot of muscle to contain oncoming pass rushers. A positive: His upper body is wide and has room to add muscle. - Dave Richard, CBSSports.com
12/03/2012 - 2012 ALL-BIG TEN SECOND TEAM (COACHES): OT Hugh Thornton, Illinois, has been selected Second Team All-Big Ten (Coaches selection) for the 2012 college football season. Thornton was a mainstay on the offensive line for the last four years, starting 35 games in his career at both guard and tackle, including 10 this season at left tackle. He consistently graded out as the Illini's top offensive lineman in 2012. - Illinois football
12/03/2012 - 2012 ALL-BIG TEN HONORABLE MENTION (MEDIA): Hugh Thornton, Illinois, has been selected Honorable Mention All-Big Ten (Media selection) for the 2012 college football season. Thornton was a mainstay on the offensive line for the last four years, starting 35 games in his career at both guard and tackle, including 10 this season at left tackle. He consistently graded out as the Illini's top offensive lineman in 2012. - Illinois football