football

Thompkins talks Penn State, UNC, NC State

Whether it's returning kicks, playing quarterback or catching passing, 2014 Swansboro (N.C.) DeAndre Thompkins does it all. During his junior year, Thompkins returned five kickoffs and one punt for touchdowns, while also rushing for 1,300 yards.
While Thompkins natural position is at wide receiver, he said he's more than happy to do whatever his coaches ask.
"I'm most comfortable as a wide receiver and a return man," Thompkins said. "But I can play quarterback and running back, too. I told my coach it doesn't matter where I play, just as long as we win."
Thompkins versatility has caught the eye of several college coaches and earned him offers from Penn State, North Carolina and North Carolina State among others. He's already taken a visit to Happy Valley and came away very impressed with the Nittany Lions season.
"I like the coaching staff," Thompkins said. "You can tell they're not just focused on football, they want their players to be successful in life."
He added that the feel of the Penn State campus was something that stood out as well.
"I just like the surroundings," he said. "It feels like home. All the people talk to you. I talked to several players and they love it there. I just like the family vibe I got from the team and the town."
If he were to attend Penn State the school would still have two more seasons of NCAA sanctions to deal with. But Thompkins said that's not something he's worried about.
"I haven't put any thought into that because they have a new coaching staff that wasn't a part of that," he said. "That would affect the ability to go to a bowl game but if I like it on the field and I like the area it doesn't matter to me. As long as I'm happy where I am."
Penn State's biggest competition for Thompkins right now is the schools in his home state, North Carolina State and North Carolina.
"They're both coming on strong," he said. "I've talked to all the coaches and they come see my coach and ask for me and that's a good thing. I like that because it tells me I'm doing the right things and I'm liking what I've heard so far."
Thompkins added that the new coaching staff at N.C. State has helped the Wolfpack's chances.
"If they're running the same offense that they did at Northern Illinois, that's like wide receiver heaven," he said. "Getting the ball in open space one-on-one is what every player wants to do and in their offense the wide receivers get that opportunity."
North Carolina was one of the first schools to start recruiting Thompkins and was also the first trip he took this fall.
"I Just like their facilities," Thompkins said. "Their fans are diehards, you can tell. Everyone is screaming their heads off at the games."
Because the Tar Heels have been after him the longest, he's had a good chance to build relationships with the coaching staff.
"The coaches there just love the game," he said. "And they know how to relate to younger people. They're always joking around and having fun. They know when to get serious but I like the face that they relate to me and you can get a sense of how they are away from the field, too."
Already known for his speed, Thompkins said he will spend the offseason trying to get faster while competing in both indoor and outdoor track. He'll have to squeeze in camps and combines around his busy running schedule.
"That's my sport after football," he said. "During the summer I'm going to try to get to as many camps as possible. I think there's a couple camps that are during track but I'm going to try my best to make to as many I as I can."
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