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Senior Bowl 2019 Interview – Juan Thornhill

Steve Shoup

Juan Thornhill – S (Virginia)

Measurables:  Hgt:  6’ ¾”       Wgt:  202 lbs.  Hand:  8 ½”     Arm:  31 ½”     Wing:  74 ½“

 

PROFILE: 

SUMMARY: 2018 – College Football News All-America (HM) … All-ACC (1st) … Associated Press All-ACC (1st) … Associated Press All-Bowl Game … Pro Football Focus All-ACC (2nd) … Athlon Sports All-ACC (2nd).

SENIOR (2018): Started all 13 of UVA’s games … finished No. 3 in the nation and No. 3 in the ACC with six interceptions … set a UVA single-season record for interception return yards with 141 … led UVA with 98 tackles… named ACC Defensive Back of the Week after the Indiana game where he made seven tackles, intercepted one pass and blocked a PAT, returning it for the first defensive extra points by a Cavalier since 1994 … named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and the ACC Defensive Back of the Week after making six tackles and picking off two passes against No. 16 Miami, returning one for a career-long 62 yards … made six tackles, one for a loss, and intercepted a pass in UVA’s Belk Bowl win over South Carolina … his 54-yard interception return set a UVA bowl record for longest return and most interception yards in a game.

JUNIOR (2017): Started 12 of UVA’s 13 games … missed the Pitt game with an injury … had 4 interceptions on the year … key in the Georgia Tech win with five tackles and three pass breakups … added a 0.5 sack against the Yellow Jackets, teaming up with Andrew Brown to force a fourth and 15 on Georgia Tech’s final drive … had 10 tackles (eight solo) against Navy in the Military Bowl … made 3.0 tackles for loss against the Midshipmen.

SOPHOMORE (2016): Appeared in all 12 of UVA’s games with 11 starts … led UVA with three interceptions … made first collegiate start against Richmond in the season opener … made four tackles against the Spiders … named ACC Defensive Back of the Week after making two interceptions and four tackles at Duke.

FRESHMAN (2015): Appeared in nine of UVA’s 12 games … made collegiate debut against Boise State … recovered an on-side kick against Duke when the Blue Devils made a try on the opening kick of the second half.

 

 

On what it means to him to be part of the Senior Bowl process

 

It’s great! Just to be able to come out here and play in front of a great crowd at the game and in front of these scouts to showcase your talent. And also playing against some of the best competition in the nation to see how good you are compared to the other guys – it’s amazing.

 

On whether he got advice from any of the UVA players who participated at the Senior Bowl last year on what the process was like and what he should expect

 

Oh yeah, I definitely was asking questions because I had no clue what to expect. They told me that once I get here, I won’t have any time to do anything pretty much. Now I see it, because I’m constantly meeting with teams. I don’t even have time to meet with my family. I’m studying football and also I’ve got to worry about practices as well. So I definitely was asking questions. I asked Quinn Blanding (former UVA safety who participated in the 2018 Senior Bowl), he told me a lot things – he helped me out a lot.

 

On what he has heard from coaches and scouts since he arrived in Mobile about what they would like to see from him and what they really like about him

 

They really do like me as a person – because I feel like I’m a great guy. Things that they want to see is just me going out there and play football and show that I can move a little bit. I feel like my tape has done a lot of talking for itself. So I just have to come out here and play football and everything else will play out the way I want it to.

 

One what are a few highlights from his UVA career that really stand out to him

 

Definitely the Belk Bowl (this past season against South Carolina) – because of the fact that we came out victorious against an SEC opponent. We wasn’t favored in that game whatsoever. We were supposed to lose that game, but we came out victorious, winning 28-0.  And, probably Georgia Tech last year (2017) when we was fighting to get into a bowl game for the first time (during his career at UVA). We finally got that win and knowing that we were bowl-eligible and guys were very excited in the locker room – so it was great.

 

On what it meant to him to be a part of the UVA program that now seems to be on the upswing lately after a number of years with losing records

 

It’s great. I was definitely part of that 2-10 season (2016) We are getting better every year. So that’s the thing I like. Making progress every year. Guys wanted to come and be a part of that culture because the brotherhood there is tremendous. Everyone is so close and it’s like we can’t be separated whatsoever. The coaching staff, they always push you to be the best player that you can possibly be every single day.

 

On what he hopes to showcase to scouts during Senior Bowl week that perhaps they don’t know about him

 

Maybe that I can tackle. There’s some situations where I missed a couple of tackles, but one thing that I definitely would like to show is that I can tackle.

 

On what it is like getting this opportunity to pursue his dream and striving every day to do that

Me personally, this is something that I always had a dream about – just playing at the next level. So, I’m always willing to be the best player possible, no matter the situation. I’m going to put everything into this game so that I can make it into the next level and be very successful.



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