AT COLORADO: 2012 (Jr.)—He saw action in nine games (no starts), catching seven passes for 73 yards; he caught five of those balls for 60 yards at Washington State (CU’s lone win of the year). He earned six special team points (three tackles, one solo, and three knockdown blocks). He practiced at wide receiver during the spring (no catches in the major scrimmages), but returned to tight end for the start of August camp; he missed the first two games of the season as he was suspended for violating team rules.
2011 (Soph.)—He played in all 13 games, including one start (at Arizona State); he moved to wide receiver for the latter part of the season to bolster the numbers there. He caught six passes for 69 yards, but had one of the biggest receptions of the year: a 52-yard catch-and-run pass from Tyler Hansen got the Buffs out from being deep in their territory, allowing CU to keep its early momentum after taking a 7-0 lead at Utah (an eventual 17-14 win that snapped a school record 23-game road losing streak). He added two tackles, on solo, on special teams coverage duty. He was held out of the spring game after suffering a neck and shoulder injury in practice the Monday of the final week of practices. He caught six passes for 82 yards in the two scrimmages he played in prior to the injury.
2010 (Fr.-RS)—He saw action in 10 games, including two starts (versus Colorado State in Denver, the first game of his career, and at Kansas); he did not get into the Hawai'i or Kansas State contests. He caught one pass on the season, but made it count, as it covered 12 yards from Cody Hawkins for a touchdown at Kansas on a third down play near the end of the first half to give the Buffs a 35-10 lead. He had a solid spring, making seven catches for 72 yards and a touchdown in the three main scrimmages. He was the Iron Buffalo Award winner among the team’s tight ends for hard work, dedication, toughness and total poundage lifted in the weight room.
2009 (Fr.)—Redshirted; practiced all fall at tight end.
HIGH SCHOOL—Rivals.com ranked him as the No. 14 player from the state of Colorado and he is the No. 2 tight end on that list. Scout.com lists him as the No. 104 tight end while ESPN rates him as the No. 117 tight end in the country. He was named All-Colorado by the Denver Post, second-team All-State by the Rocky Mountain News and All-Central Metro League as both a junior and a senior. He also earned All-Denver Prep League honors as a sophomore as East changed from the Denver Prep League to the Central Metro League prior to the 2007 season. He started at tight end for East his sophomore through senior seasons. Defensively, he saw action at defensive end, outside linebacker and safety as a freshman and sophomore, then started at defensive end as a junior and switched back to outside linebacker and started as a senior. As a senior, he caught 44 passes for 895 yards and 12 touchdowns offensively and came up with 50 tackles, including 28 solo, on the defensive side of the ball where he also had two sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery. He led the Central Metro League in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns and also ranked in the top 15 in the state in all three categories, as well. Had eight receptions for 141 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Ranum in a 40-6 victory, five receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown against Gateway and five receptions for 57 yards and three touchdowns against Montbello his senior season. Lists his best game that year against Grandview in the state playoffs where he had seven receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown in a 48-20 loss, which followed up a four reception, 79 yard, two-touchdown performance in a 49-30 victory over Highlands Ranch in the first round of the playoffs. As a junior he caught 25 passes for 717 yards and nine touchdowns and had 39 tackles, 26 of them solo, with two sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery. He had three receptions for 180 yards and a 71 yard touchdown reception against Overland in a 51-45 victory his junior season. He was also the team’s punter until classmate and fellow CU signee Zach Grossnickle joined the squad and in that time he had a punt over 40 yards. After Grossnickle returned, he became the team’s long snapper on punts and kicks, a position he held through his senior season. A four-year letterman under coach Ron Woolfork (the former Buff linebacker, 1990-93), East was 7-4 his senior year and 8-3 his junior season, advancing to the second round of the state playoffs both years. Also an accomplished basketball player, he earned four letters and was member of back-to-back state champion teams. As a senior, he ranked second in the Denver Prep League with an average of 17.5 points per game (16th in the state) and also averaged nine rebounds per game. He averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds per game as a junior helping East to a 24-4 record while winning the title and 10 points and seven rebounds per game as a sophomore on the hardwood.
ACADEMICS—He is majoring in English at Colorado. He made the Honor Roll as a senior in high school.
PERSONAL—He was born October 14, 1990 in Denver. His hobbies include playing video games and spending time with friends. He is an accomplished chef and has aspirations of being a culinary arts chef (he says the best entrées he prepares are enchiladas and burritos). His father, David Thornton, played linebacker at Oklahoma State. Oldest brother, Dazzmond, currently plays basketball for James Madison University after beginning his career at Texas Tech. Another brother, Demetrius, is currently playing basketball at Cochise Community College in Arizona.
|ADDITIONAL STATISTICS—Special Team Tackles: 1,1—2 (2011); 1,2—3 (2012).