"I'm very excited," said Thornton, who watched the draft in his hometown of Goldsboro with his family. "I was getting a little anxious yesterday after watching the draft yesterday and not being selected. I found I couldn't remove myself from the TV and that probably wasn't a good thing for me to do. But today, I woke up, prayed and felt a lot better. I wasn't really expecting to get picked that early in the fourth round, so it was a surprise when my agent called me and told me the Colts were taking me."
Thornton, Carolina's defensive MVP in 2001, began his career as a walk-on and played primarily on special teams his first three years. He was awarded a scholarship prior to the 2001 season and earned a starting position at outside linebacker. He finished the 2001 season with 131 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, three sacks and one interception.
Thornton says he is excited about going to Indianapolis.
"I think Coach Dungy is a great coach and I'm excited about playing for him," said Thornton. "He's a coach who is big on character and I think I'll be a good fit for his program."
Hours later, Thornton's teammates at UNC, Joey Evans, Quincy Monk and Ronald Curry, were picked in the seventh and final round of the draft. Curry, who holds career records at Carolina in total offense and passing, was taken by the Oakland Raiders with the 235th overall selection. Defensive end Joey Evans was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 219th pick and linebacker Quincy Monk was picked by the New York Giants with the 245th overall selection.
Carolina had six players taken in this year's draft. That is the most since seven Tar Heels were selected in the 1998 draft.