HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Former Southern Miss linebacker Ronnie Thornton has been invited to play in the 87th annual East-West Shrine Game set for Saturday, Jan. 21, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. Game time is set for 3 p.m. CT, and can be seen on the NFL Network.
Thornton is the third Golden Eagle to earn an invitation to the game. The Miami, Fla., native will play for the West squad for coach Brad Childress, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings, and will be on the opposite side of the field from former teammates, quarterback Austin Davis and offensive lineman Lamar Holmes.
Thornton finished 2011 as the Golden Eagles' top tackler with 111 stops, which included 8.5 tackles for loss, a sack, two interceptions and a forced fumble. Over his four-year tenure that features consecutive starting assignments over his final 35 games, Thornton tallied 290 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, four sacks, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
One of his interceptions came in this season's Conference USA championship game in which he returned 26 yards for a touchdown against Houston in a 49-28 victory. He ended that game with 14 tackles to earn an ESPN Helmet Sticker for his stellar play in helping lead Southern Miss to its first C-USA football title since 2003.
With Thornton's addition to a postseason roster, Southern Miss now has five players scheduled to appear in a college all-star game. Along with Davis and Holmes, Cordarro Law and Ryan Balentine are set to play in the Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game set for Mon., Jan. 16, at 8 p.m., from Tucson, Ariz. This game can be seen on these Fox Sports regional networks - Sportsouth, FS Arizona, FS Southwest PLUS and FS Houston PLUS.