| Kalen Thornton
6-3 · 270
Dallas, Texas (St. Mark's)
Talented and explosive four-year defensive end who took on a leadership role on the defensive line in 2003 ... signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 2004 ... played through 2004-05 seasons before retiring due to a knee injury ... tabbed honorable mention All-Big 12 by the conference coaches in 2003 ... played in 46 career games, including bowl games, and started 35 ... registered 155 tackles, 33 TFLs, 14 sacks and 75 QB pressures during his career ... started the 12 games in which he played in 2003, including the Holiday Bowl, and recorded 51 tackles, four sacks, nine TFLs, 21 QB pressures, six pass breakups, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble ... returned to action last fall after missing the 2002 spring season while recovering from reconstructive surgery on his right knee ... had a solid year despite sustaining an ankle injury just as he was getting back to full speed ... posted 28 tackles, five TFLs, 2.5 sacks and 14 QB pressures in 2002 despite missing three games with an ankle injury and recovering from a 2001 knee injury ... also blocked an extra point in UT's 17-14 win at No. 17 Kansas State ... played in 12 games and started 11 contests as a sophomore ... an honorable mention All-Big 12 performer in 2001 ... led UT with 20 QB pressures that season ... stepped in and played all 12 games (nine starts) as a true freshman in 2000 ... a first-team Freshman All-America selection by The Sporting News... shared UT's Outstanding Defensive Newcomer Award and established himself as one of the most productive freshmen defenders in UT history ... registered 3.5 sacks (was T-No. 8 on UT's freshman single-season chart), eight TFLs (was ranked No. 8 on UT's frosh single-season list) and 20 QB pressures ... was also an outstanding student who twice earned Verizon Academic All-District VI recognition and is a two-time second-team Academic All-Big 12 choice ... made a smooth transition from small private school competition as a prepster to major college football ... a tight end during his first two seasons of high school but moved to defensive end as a senior.
Started and played in 12 contests, including the Holiday Bowl ... missed the Baylor game while nursing an injury ... earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors from the conference coaches ... named UT's Outstanding Defensive End ... twice tabbed UT's Defensive Player of the Week ... registered seven tackles, three TFLs, two QB pressures and a sack on opening day against New Mexico State ... shared the Mike Campbell "Across the Bow" Defensive Player of the Week for those efforts ... tallied five tackles, one PBU and one QB pressures against Arkansas ... notched four tackles and four QB pressures against Tulane ... posted a team-high eight tackles, three QB pressures and a TFL against No. 16 Kansas State and shared Mike Campbell's "Across the Bow" Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts ... returned from injury and posted one sack and a forced fumble versus No. 12 Nebraska as the Texas defense held the Huskers fourth-ranked rushing offense (259.1 ypg) to 53 yards ... made the first fumble recovery of his career and notched seven tackles at Texas A&M ... tied his career-high with 10 tackles, three pass breakups and one QB pressure against No. 15 Washington State in the Holiday Bowl.
Played in 10 games and started three despite battling injuries ... missed the North Texas, Baylor and Texas Tech games ... a second-team Verizon Academic All-District VI and Academic All-Big 12 selection ... posted 28 tackles, five TFLs, 2.5 sacks and 14 QB pressures ... also blocked extra point at No. 17 Kansas State ... key member of a Longhorns defense that led the Big 12 and ranked eighth in the NCAA in pass defense (165.2 ypg.), second in the conference and seventh in the nation in pass efficiency defense (96.1 rtg.), third in the league and eighth in the country in scoring defense (16.3 ppg.) and third in the Big 12 and 16th nationally in total defense (307.7 ypg.) ... had a career-high 10 tackles, a sack and three QB pressures against No. 2 Oklahoma ... posted five tackles, including a TFL, and two QB pressures against No. 17 Iowa State ... registered four tackles, three QB pressures and a pass breakup at No. 17 Kansas State ... racked up four solo tackles at Nebraska ... tallied a pair of stops and a sack against Texas A&M.
Played in 12 games, including the Holiday Bowl, and started 11 contests ... missed the Oklahoma State game due to a knee injury ... an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection ... earned Verizon Academic All-District VI and second-team Academic All-Big 12 honors ... shared UT's Joseph W. Moore Award (for tenacity) ... recorded 44 tackles (29 solo), four sacks (-22 yards), 11 TFLs (-35 yards) and a team-high 20 QB pressures ... also registered two pass breakups, one forced fumble and blocked a field goal (at Houston) ... a key contributor on a UT defense that led the nation in total defense (236.2 ypg) and ranked third in passing (146.7 ypg) and scoring defense (13.7 ppg), fourth in pass efficiency defense (88.0 rtg) and sixth in rushing defense (89.5 ypg) ... UT was one of only two defenses that ranked among the NCAA's top 10 in all five statistical categories (Virginia Tech was the other) ... saw limited action against No. 21 Washington in the Holiday Bowl ... registered five tackles, a sack, two TFLs and two QB pressures at Texas A&M ... tallied three tackles and one TFL as UT limited Kansas to just 67 yards of offense (UT's best effort since 1988) ... posted four tackles (three solo), two QB pressures and one TFL at Baylor ... recorded five tackles and two QB pressures at Missouri ... had a season-high six tackles and forced a fumble in UT's first matchup with No. 14 Colorado ... posted four tackles, a sack and two QB pressures against No. 3 Oklahoma before being sidelined with a knee injury ... recorded four tackles and one TFL against Texas Tech ... tallied four tackles, two sacks, three TFLs and his first career blocked field goal at Houston ... tied his career high with four QB pressures against North Carolina ... registered six tackles and two TFLs in the season opener against New Mexico State and shared UT's Mike Campbell Defensive Player of the Week.
Saw action in all 12 games ... started the final nine games of the season, including the Holiday Bowl ... a first-team Freshman All-American (The Sporting News) ... shared the team's Outstanding Defensive Newcomer Award ... registered 32 tackles (17 solo), 3.5 sacks (T-No. 5 on UT's freshman single-season chart), eight TFLs (No. 5 on UT's frosh single-season list) and 20 QB pressures ... also recorded two pass breakups and a pair of forced fumbles (at Kansas & Colorado) ... helped lead a Texas defense that led the nation in pass efficiency defense (88.3), ranked seventh nationally in total defense (278.3 ypg), 11th in scoring defense (17.9 ppg), 12th in rushing defense (94.0 ypg) and 17th in passing defense (184.3 ypg) ... UT was one of only three schools that ranked among the top 17 nationally in all five of those categories ... registered a career-high nine tackles and one TFL against No. 8 Oregon in the Holiday Bowl ... had a then-career-high six tackles, one sack and a PBU against No. 10 Oklahoma ... had five tackles and two TFLs at Texas Tech ... posted two tackles and a career-high 1.5 sacks at Colorado ... recorded four stops and a pair of QB pressures against Oklahoma State ... had a career-high four QB pressures at Stanford.
Coached by Jay McAuley at St. Mark's High ... versatile athlete who helped his team to a 26-3 record in three seasons ... played tight end his first two years before moving to defensive end as a senior ... posted 86 tackles, 16 sacks, four fumble recoveries and caused two fumbles en route to his team's Defensive Player of the Year award ... also saw action at fullback and carried the ball 24 times for 232 yards that year ... his 55-yard rush set up the game-winning TD against Greenhill in the 1999 League Championship game ... caught 23 passes for 439 yards and six TDs as a junior ... tabbed his team's Offensive Player of the Year that season ... earned three letters in basketball and track & field and was a team captain in his final two years.
Born 5/12/82 in Dallas ... full name is Kalen Bruce Thornton ... majored in finance ... three-time member of the UT Athletics Director's Honor Roll ... also earned a spot on the Fall 2000 Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll ... was active in UT's community service program ... served as a guest speaker at Bailey Middle School's awards banquet ... father, Bruce, starred as a defensive lineman at Illinois (1976-79) and played for the Dallas Cowboys (1979-81) and St. Louis Cardinals (1982) in the NFL and the Denver Gold and Chicago Blitz of the USFL ... received the St. Mark's Community Service Award as a senior ... a member of the honor roll as a prep junior and senior ... likes to play video games and listen to jazz music in his spare time.
Year G/GS TT (Solo) Sacks TFL QBP INT PBU FC FR High
2003 12/12 51 (34) 4 (-27) 9 (-41) 21 0 6 1 1 10/WSU*
2002 10/3 28 (18) 2.5 (-26) 5 (-29) 14 0 1 0 0 10/OU
2001 11/11 44 (29) 4 (-22) 11 (-35) 20 0 2 1 0 6/2x
2000 11/8 32 (17) 3.5 (-33) 8 (-46) 20 0 2 2 0 9/Ore*
Career 44/34 155 (98) 14 (-109) 33 (-151) 75 0 11 4 1 10/2x
10 vs. Washington State (Sr.)*; vs. Oklahoma (Jr.)
1.5 at Colorado (Fr.)
Tackles for loss:
3 vs. Texas A&M (Sr.); vs.New Mexico State (Sr.); 3 at Houston (So.)
4, 4 times
* Holiday Bowl