Thornton looking to build on breakout season

There’s no debate when it comes to the No. 1 wide receiver at James Madison.
There’s no debate when it comes to the No. 1 wide receiver at James Madison.(WHSV)
Published: Aug. 6, 2022 at 2:10 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 6, 2022 at 2:26 PM EDT
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Thornton looking to build on breakout season

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -There’s no debate when it comes to the No. 1 wide receiver at James Madison.

Redshirt senior Kris Thornton returns for the Dukes after a breakout campaign in 2021, when he earned First Team All-CAA honors and set a JMU single-season record for receptions.

“He’s so important,” said JMU redshirt senior safety Sam Kidd. “Obviously he’s a deep threat. His speed...that’s so significant.”

Thornton hauled in 83 receptions for 1,097 yards and 13 touchdowns last fall. He made his JMU debut in the 2021 spring season when he registered 26 receptions for 428 yards and three touchdowns across eight games during a modified season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The Manassas, Va. native is now the clear leader of a position group that lost superstar Antwane Wells Jr. (2021: 1,250 yards, 15 TDs) to South Carolina via the transfer portal while Scott Bracey (2021: 20 receptions, 299 yards) exhausted his eligibility.

“I think the main thing that changed for me was trying to be more of a leader this year,” said Thornton. “I was kind of a leader last year but trying to really lead the younger guys and the new people coming into our room this year. That’s really my main thing that changed with my role.”

Thornton, who played two seasons at VMI and sat out the 2019 campaign after transferring to James Madison, is the only JMU player to earn preseason all-conference honors from the Sun Belt. He was named to the Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team offense.

“It’s been a long ride, I know that,” said Thornton. “I came in 2017 at VMI and now six years later, I am finishing up....I have played two seasons at JMU and I am ready for this season coming up.”

Thornton’s father Keith played wide receiver for James Madison from 1987-1990.

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