It took De'Andre Thompkins a few days to fully put into perspective the fact that Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien was leaving the program. But once he sat down with his family, weighed the pros and cons, and spoke to a valuable assistant, his choice was clear.
Thompkins tweeted late Friday afternoon and later confirmed to FOS that he will remain in State's Class of 2014, despite rumors that he would look elsewhere following O'Brien's departure to the Houston Texans and the potential for receivers coach Stan Hixon to follow him. Thompkins will enroll at the university Jan. 13, when classes begin for the spring semester.
"That's it. I'm going to Penn State," Thompkins said. "I just realized where I needed to be and where I belong, and where I fit. I just had to realize that I helped create this commit class, and I can't leave those guys.
"I have a strong bond with [Penn State quarterback] Christian [Hackenberg] and stuff, so I felt that's where I belonged."
The Swansboro (N.C.) receiver called interim head coach Larry Johnson to inform him of the news.
"Of course, he was crazy excited," Thompkins explained. "He said he's happy I stuck with the class. He said it was kind of scary for him as far as me looking at other (schools), but he said he's excited."
Thompkins returned Friday from the Under Armour game in Orlando, where he competed with victorious Team Highlight along with three fellow State commits — quarterback Michael O'Connor, defensive tackle Thomas Holley and receiver Chris Godwin.
Holley and Godwin were two prospects Thompkins said he frequently spoke with, though he said most of the decision rested on a conversation with his family. The senior was unwilling to speak to either's commitment status down the road, but believes they are solid for now.
"It was a blast. I had a good time learning from all these NFL guys and all these extremely well-known coaches," Thompkins said of the game. "I just took it all in.
"I honestly can't speak for the other guys, but last they told me they were sticking. But anything can happen."