Oregon Ducks land nation's No. 6 WR Dont'e Thornton over USC, Notre Dame, and more


Last week, Oregon wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon called recruiting "the lifeblood of every program."

One week later, Oregon lands another blue-chip receiving prospect in the 2021 recruiting class.

Four-star wide receiver Dont'e Thornton committed to the University of Oregon via his Instagram Live on Tuesday evening, joining arguably the best receiving class in program history.

With Thornton's commitment, Oregon holds the nation's third-ranked recruiting class in 2021.

The 6'4.5", 185-pound Maryland native holds a composite ranking of the nation's No. 6 wide receiver and 51st best player overall. 247Sports ranks Thornton as the nation's No. 9 WR and No. 65 player nationally. Regardless, the Ducks have once again landed one of the nation's best prospects. 

Long considered a heavy Oregon lean, Thornton originally stated he didn't want to commit until the Adidas All-American game on January 2nd. But given the lack of official visits due to the pandemic, Thornton moved up his decision date.

"For the past two months, I already knew where I wanted to go, so I felt like there was no reason for me to keep playing the waiting game and entertain these other schools when I already knew where I wanted to go," Thornton told 247Sports ahead of his decision. "I decided to get it over with and move onto the next step so I can be locked in and not worry about the rest of the recruiting part with other schools. That is what made move it up."


Why did he choose Oregon?

"I know I have people around me that are also great players," Thornton said. "I know everything won't all be on me. If there was a time in the game where I messed up, I know I will have teammates that will be able to pick up my slack and be able to get back on track, while they will also be putting in the work.

"The pieces around, there are great playmakers, so it doesn't just doesn't put the emphasis on me."

Thornton joins a Ducks class that includes four-star Kyron Ware-Hudson (nation's No. 22 WR),  five-star Troy Franklin (nation's No. 3 wide receiver in 247Sports), and four-star Isaiah Brevard (No. 7 wide receiver in ESPN).

As a junior, Thornton caught 38 passes for 1,021 yards and 16 touchdowns. 

He released a top-six of Notre Dame, Oregon, Florida State, Arizona State, and USC in the summer and added Texas in September. 

247Sports national recruiting analyst Brian Dohn projects Thornton to be an eventual Day 2 NFL Draft pick with a comparison of Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay. 

"Long, wiry frame but needs to add strength. Releases off the line well and gets into route quickly," wrote Dohn. "Knows how to set up defensive backs. Locates ball well and is sure-handed. Possession receiver with big-play capability. Has deceptive speed. Runs 4.63 in 40. Attacks ball in air. Good body control and flexibility. Legitimate red-zone threat. Needs to tighten his route running out of breaks. Must get stronger in the upper body. High-level player for elite Power 5 program. Second- or third-round NFL draft potential."

You can watch his junior season highlights here.

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