Carolina Speedster Eyes Penn State

Thompkins plans a late-season visit to Happy Valley to check out what he calls the first "really big school" he is considering.

DeAndre Thompkins had already planned a trip to University Park for Penn State's Nov. 24 matchup with Wisconsin at Beaver Stadium. The Class of 2014 running back from Swansboro (N.C.) High was going to visit seeking an offer.

But Ted Roof had other ideas.

Thompkins is the latest high school junior to receive an offer from Penn State, landing a verbal offer from the Nittany Lion defensive coordinator last Friday. It is the 32nd known Class of 2014 verbal offer handed out by Bill O'Brien and his staff.

“They called my coach last Friday, and I was able to speak to my recruiting coach, coach Ted Roof,” Thompkins said. “He told me he liked my highlight tape, and thought I was a good person and a Penn State guy, and one of the guys he'd like to have in his locker room.”

The 6-foot, 175-pound speed back runs a 4.41 40-yard dash, but his that isn't the only facet of his game that is catching college coaches' eyes. The junior has rushed for 1,359 yards through 11 interscholastic games this season, and has 10 rushing touchdowns and five kick return TDs.

“One thing a lot of coaches have been pointing out is my versatility. I can play anywhere on the field, and Coach Roof says he likes that,” Thompkins said. “I think that's what sets me apart. My coach really emphasizes my speed and vision as my strength, so I try and focus on that.”

Thompkins says he isn't affected by NCAA sanctions that hit Penn State in July.

“Every school is going to have some downfall,” Thompkins said. “I think of it as a time to rebuild and show people what they are made of. I know some guys de-committed from there, and that's their decision, but I don't think it's good idea. The program is really good, and they have some new coaches that are solid, and I don't think you have to worry about that past, just rebuilding and looking forward.”

Claiming offers from Penn State, North Carolina State, North Carolina, Appalachian State and Old Dominion, Thompkins' trip with his family and high school coaches will mark his third unofficial visit this season. He visited Appalachian State earlier in the year before taking in North Carolina State's 33-6 loss to Virginia on the Wolfpack's homecoming last weekend.

“I really enjoyed the environment at both those schools, and they both have coaching staffs that are young but relatable because they know what you've been through,” Thompkins said.

The junior will hit the camp circuit next summer, and is in no rush to make a decision. But he is excited about his trip North to experience what game day at Beaver Stadium is like.

“I know it's going to be a very good experience,” he said. “It's a big school, and I haven't been to a really big school yet, and a lot of the teachers at my school graduated from Penn State and tell me how awesome it is.

“I'm going to go to as many camps as I can this summer, and take my time and see what schools come my way as I go along,” he added.

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