Sophomore running back Shadrach Thornton is working his way back into N.C. State's offense and the good graces of coach Dave Doeren but he's not there yet.
Thornton touched the ball twice in the Wolfpack's 26-14 loss to Clemson last week and both plays were effective. He had a 32-yard catch and a 21-yard touchdown run on the same second-quarter drive. Thornton, the team's leading rusher a year ago, didn't have another carry or catch the rest of the game.
Doeren said Thornton has to continue to earn his opportunities.
"He's done a good job of that but I'm not handing things over to people that made mistakes in the offseason," Doeren said. "They got to prove that they deserve the ball."
Thornton was arrested in June for an assault on a female charge. He was suspended by Doeren for the opener against Louisiana Tech for the arrest and has since received deferred prosecution for the misdemeanor charge.
Thornton only played on special teams in the Wolfpack's second game of the season, a 23-21 win over Richmond on Sept. 7. He muffed a kickoff return against the Spiders, which also set him back with Doeren.
"We gave him a chance on kickoff return a couple of weeks ago and he dropped it," Doeren said. "He's got to grow up and he's got to become a man.
"He's a good athlete, nobody argues with that, but there's more than just being a good athlete to getting the football on our football team."
Thornton led the Wolfpack with 694 rushing yards in 2012, despite not playing in the first three games. Both junior Tony Creecy and freshman Matt Dayes are listed ahead of him on the depth chart for Saturday's game against Central Michigan.