Thourogood leaves Vanderbilt after injury, lack of opportunity

Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 4:35pm

An injury kept Lafonte Thourogood on the sidelines — and left Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin wondering what if.

“The thing is that a shame is that I really feel like if Lafonte would have been able to go this spring and had some success and had some fun, he’d still be here,” Franklin said on 104.5 The Zone on Thursday morning.

Franklin and Vanderbilt granted Thourogood a release earlier this week and the freshman quarterback/running back plans to transfer closer to his home in Virginia Beach, Va. The announcement comes after Thourogood missed all of spring practice due to a hamstring issue.

Thourogood was a highly touted quarterback and a four-star recruit, according to Scout.com. He originally committed to Virginia Tech but switched to Vanderbilt on national signing day in 2011. He redshirted last fall, when he was the fifth option at quarterback — behind fellow freshmen Josh Grady and Kris Kentera.

In December, in preparation for the Liberty Bowl, Thourogood switched to running back.

But the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder never had a chance to settle into his new position. Franklin said Thourogood pulled his hamstring during his junior year of high school and the injury continued to linger.

“I do think there is a little part of it where some of these schools he might look at going he is going to take another a chance at playing quarterback,” Franklin said. “We just felt like for our program and for Lafonte, based on my professional experience, that wasn’t in his or our best interest.”

Compounding the issue perhaps was the fact that the assistant coach who recruited him, Chris Beatty, left Vanderbilt in the offseason to take a similar position at Illinois.

However, Thourogood’s coach at Ocean Lakes High School, Chris Scott, told the Virginian-Pilot there were other factors.

“Some family stuff came up that would require him to move a little closer to home,” Scott said. “That’s why he’s leaving. He’s not leaving on bad terms or anything.”