N.C. State running back Shadrach Thornton has been suspended again.
Thornton, a senior and the team’s leading rusher last season, will not play in the Wolfpack’s first two games for violating athletic department policy, N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said Thursday.
Doeren did not give any details about Thornton’s suspension other than to say it was related to a university issue that had happened six months ago. The only outstanding legal charges against Thornton are minor traffic infractions.
It’s the second time Thornton will miss at least one game due to a suspension and the third time in his career he has been suspended. Thornton missed the 2013 opener after a misdemeanor assault of a female arrest in June 2013. Thornton received deferred prosecution in that case, which involved a dispute with his then-girlfriend in the campus library.
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He received another legal charge, misdemeanor marijuana possession in December 2013, which led to an indefinite suspension but he was reinstated — without missing any game time — after the charge was dropped.
Junior Matt Dayes, who led the team in touchdowns (13) and had 573 rushing yards last season, will start at running back in the opener against Troy on Sept. 5 and likely against Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 12. Freshman Reggie Gallaspy and redshirt freshman Dakwa Nichols will serve as the backups.
Thornton led the team with 907 rushing yards in 2014 and played his best at the end of the season.
Thornton had 110 and 161 yards in wins over Wake Forest and North Carolina to close out the regular season and more than 37 percent of Thornton’s rushing attempts (61 of 164) came in the last three games of the season.
Thornton will be eligible to return for N.C. State’s third game of the season, which is Sept. 19 at Old Dominion.
Giglio: 919-829-8938; @jwgiglio