December 4, 2022

Arkansas Pine-Bluff is looking to make another run to the SWAC Championship after the Golden Lions came up one game short of their 1st SWAC Championship since 2012 in the spring season. The Golden Lions defense received a major addition as former North Texas linebacker Chris Thornton announced his transfer to Arkansas Pine-Bluff on social media. 

Thornton was a standout at Palo Duro High School and ranked as a 2-star prospect in the class of 2017. He was a 1st Team All-District 3-5A selection in 2015 at the defensive end spot after totaling 98 tackles, 10 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. Thornton followed up his outstanding junior season with back-to-back 1st Team All-District accolades after racking up 108 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks as a senior. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound linebacker announced his commitment to North Texas on National Signing Day in 2017. 

Thornton redshirted his first season for the Mean Green and did not see the field until the 2019 season. Thornton appeared in 16 games at North Texas and totaled 14 tackles over his career for the Mean Green. He announced his transfer from North Texas in January after the conclusion of the 2021 season. 

Thornton will look to compete for playing time in a talented linebacker core, which is led by All-SWAC linebacker Monroe Beard III. Arkansas Pine-Bluff lost some impact contributors on the defensive side of the ball including All-SWAC linebacker Kolby Watts. Thornton will fit into the outside linebacker role for the Golden Lions and could be one of the top pass rushers for the defense next season. Thornton will have two years of eligibility left for the Golden Lions. 

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