"He's a big play receiver," Hillside head coach Antonio King said. "He has scoring potential every time he touches the ball. Right now, he has a really good ability to catch short balls and long ones. He's not afraid to leave his feet."
As a freshman on Hillside's junior varsity team, Thompson played quarterback. The following off-season, he was moved up to varsity and converted to wide receiver, a position he was much more familiar with.
"I played receiver all my life before I played quarterback," Thompson said. "So it was a natural transition [to move back to receiver]. I needed to learn the release moves and relied on my natural ability."
Off natural ability alone, Thompson earned a spot on the All-Pac 6 Conference team. He ended the season with approximately 40 catches for 700 yards and seven touchdowns.
"The position was a little new for him, but he made some plays," King said. "But this year going through the whole rigorous camp [at the position], he's much better at receiver now – running routes, footwork."
Eleven schools have already offered Thompson, including Clemson, Florida, Minnesota, Purdue, North Carolina, NC State, Ohio State, South Carolina, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech.
"It feels great to be in this position, but it's a matter of continuing to work hard in practice and transferring that into the game," Thompson said.
For several months, Thompson was pretty certain he had a UNC offer, but it wasn't until his mother spoke to a Tar Heel assistant coach about a week ago that Thompson knew for sure.
Thompson has made three visits to UNC – he accompanied teammates and current UNC verbal commitments Korrin Wiggins and Khris Francis to a junior day, attended a spring practice, and participated in UNC's 7-on-7 camp.
"When I've talked to [UNC coaches], they are mostly asking me questions," Thompson said. "Basically, if I was in a situation in a game, what would I do? What do good receiver stats sound like? And what areas do I need to improve?"
Besides UNC, Thompson has visited Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia. The visits have resulted in a soft, early leader for Thompson.
"I've been keeping it open," Thompson said. "There's really none that are sticking out, but if I had to choose I would say Clemson. When I visited, it was just a great environment – it felt like another home for me. It's not too far, but not too close to home. And the coaches gave off a really good vibe."
Location will likely play a major role in Thompson's recruitment. He wants to play college ball outside of the Tar Heel State, but wants to remain within the region.
"I want to get away," Thompson said. "That's my mindset for right now, but I don't know if I'll change my mind."
Hillside has sent countless players onto the next level and will continue the trend with Francis and Wiggins. Thompson says the whereabouts of Hillside's alumni won't affect his collegiate decision.