Lions get verbal from WR recruit

UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State emerged from Saturday’s Blue-White Game with an unexpected prize.

DeAndre Thompkins, a speedy 6-foot, 170-pound receiver from Swansboro, N.C., who was making an unofficial visit with his father, gave the Nittany Lions a verbal commitment after the scrimmage that wrapped up the squad’s spring practice session. He then announced his decision via Twitter.

He’s the fifth member of the Lions’ 2014 recruiting class.

“Thompkins was a player the staff identified early, and recruited hard, and that early relationship and continual building of it paid off,” recruiting reporter Greg Pickel said. “I thought he may take some time to check out some of the new offers and interest he recently received, but he made it clear Saturday that Penn State is the place he wants to be.”

Thompkins just had received offers from Notre Dame and Tennessee earlier this month. Clemson, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State and West Virginia were among the other schools that had made scholarship offers; he also had recently been to Georgia and began to receive contact from Florida.

A running back in high school, Thompkins finished second in North Carolina in the 400 meters with a time of 49.45 seconds and has run the 40 in 4.41. He rushed for 1,359 yards, but his more impressive achievement was his five kickoff return touchdowns and better than 50-yard per return average.

“He’s an incredible athlete,” BlueWhite Illustrated’s Ryan Snyder said. “He’s going to be a slot wide receiver, but what he really brings to the table is incredible special teams skills.”

With Thompkins following Mount Lebanon speedster wideout Troy Apke into the fold for Penn State, the Lions probably won’t have room in this class for Delaware’s Chris Godwin.

New York defensive tackle Thomas Holley, Tennessee offensive tackle Alex Bars and Maryland defensive back Marcus Allen were at the top of the list of other uncommitted prospects confirmed to have been at Beaver Stadium on Saturday. New Jersey offensive tackle Quenton Nelson also was expected to be on hand.

They were joined by many of the Lions’ 2013 recruits, including quarterback Christian Hackenberg.

“We’re guestimating 80 recruits showed up, which is a really good turnout,” Snyder said. “This coaching staff is going all out for commitments, and they’re doing a pretty good job of it. They’re kind of using the lack of scholarships to their advantage in a way. They’re in a good position with these top guys, and they can stress to these top guys, ‘Hey, we don’t really have a spot if you wait too long.”

The group also included highly-touted Philadelphia rising junior cornerback John Reid and top southeastern Pa. 2015 linebacker Jake Cooper, as well as Jon Runyan Jr.