SANFORD, N.C. --- Nate Thompson plans to return to North Carolina later this month. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound defensive back from Southern Lee High has been offered by eight schools.
"Nate's an all-star player," Southern Lee assistant coach Nathan Cochrane said. "He's a guy who you can rely on when times get tough. He's a vocal leader; he'll take over a defense when he needs to. He's a constant example -- he's not a kid who you have to worry about getting into trouble. He's good in the classroom."
As a freshman, Thompson earned a starting role at cornerback for Southern Lee. He remained at CB until moving to safety this past season.
"We'll bring him up and blitz once in a while, but most of the time he's dropping back making plays on balls in the air," Cochrane said.
During his two seasons at cornerback, Thompson made 63 tackles and intercepted a pair of passes. This past season alone -- his first at safety -- he recorded 84 tackles, four interceptions, and seven pass break-ups.
Eight schools have offered Thompson. His scholarship list features Appalachian State, Charlotte, Duke, NC State, Purdue, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest. Additionally, he's hearing from Clemson, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, Notre Dame, and Vanderbilt.
Last June, Thompson attended Fedora's Freak Show, UNC's showcase camp.
"There were a lot of top players in the state and the nation there," Thompson said. "It was also a fun camp; we had fun playing dodge ball. And I learned a lot."
Turnover on UNC's staff -- particularly on the defensive side -- has slowed its recruitment of Thompson. But, he was invited to its late January junior day, which he was unable to make, and its March 25 junior day, which he plans on attending.
Thus far, Thompson has visited Duke, South Carolina, and Virginia Tech.
"Right now, Virginia Tech and Duke have caught my eye," Thompson said. "Duke, they show me a lot of interest and they make sure I feel like I'm a priority. And then when I go to Virginia Tech, it's just an amazing experience and they treat me like I'm home."
Some schools are recruiting Thompson as a cornerback, while some see him as a safety.
"I've talked to a couple of coaches and they'd like to see him in multiple different secondary positions," Cochrane said. "A lot of guys I've talked to have said he could do both roles, [cornerback and safety]. A lot will depend on their defensive scheme."
Thompson's father, Eric Richmond, played football at East Carolina. His brother, Akeem Richmond, played basketball at ECU... Thompson also plays basketball for Southern Lee, where he averages a double-double. He plans to run track this spring... Thompson grew up rooting for Clemson, UNC, and Oregon.