Profile: Juan Thornhill
High School: Altavista (Altavista, Va.)
Height/weight: 6-1, 180
Ranking: Rivals 3*, ESPN 3*, 247 3*
Additional offers: None that we know of.
Each of the last two years, the Hoos brought in a promising safety prospect, first Malcolm Cook and then Quin Blanding. Right now, there is very little behind those two. Juan Thornhill should slot in behind Cook/Blanding very nicely.
Thornhill is a tall, rangy FS prospect. He's played some CB as well, and his coverage skills show it. He's better in zone, but is capable of covering a TE in man coverage. At 6'1", he has the height for the position, but he could use some extra bulk.
The above video shows his senior year highlights, courtesy of Hudl.
Thornhill covers a lot of ground in the secondary, because he has very good instincts. He isn't the fastest of DBs, but his long stride gets him up to speed very quickly, so he has better range than expected. He can lay a hit, but still struggles against bigger ballcarriers because of his lack of bulk.
When playing deep zone coverages, he is very good at reading plays and getting to the ball. He's also capable of moving up quickly when he reads run, but as mentioned, he can struggle when tackling a bigger RB.
You'll notice in the video that Thornhill played a fair amount of QB in high school. His ability to run with the ball is on display there, but he isn't a college QB. He could, however, play WR for Virginia, but he is almost definitely going to start at FS. As a WR, his height is a big weapon, and he has good hands. He's dangerous with the ball in his hands, but he doesn't have great top-end speed.
As a true freshman, Juan should redshirt. There are four safeties ahead of him, so barring injury, he shouldn't be needed. I could potentially be an asset on special teams, but there are enough bodies ahead of him that a redshirt would be better. He'll work on developing his upper-body strength.