- Gerry Hamilton, ESPN Staff Writer
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Senior athlete De'Andre Thompkins (Swansboro, N.C./Swansboro) was presented his honorary game jersey during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game on Wednesday. The event was part of the three-month selection tour for the Under Armour All-America Game.
Thompkins, a Penn State commitment, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Game, a nationally televised all-star game spotlighting the country’s top high school seniors. The game is set for 4 p.m. ET Jan. 2 on at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.
“I just can’t put in words how much I am grateful for how many people are in my life right now,’ Thompkins said. “You guys that are in the stands right now supporting me, and all the people who follow me in everywhere I go. I will always support my high school, Swansboro, and all the students.”
Swansboro head coach Tim Laspada said it’s a combination of on-the-field production and off-the-field attitude that makes his start player a special prospect.
“What makes him special is he’s a coach on the field,” Laspada said. “He actually knows a lot about the game, he’s a leader, obviously has great speed. What makes him special is his speed and being another coach … just having the intangibles of the game.
“He stays after practice to run routes, and just tries to better himself every day. He’s just improved so much through the years with hard work in the classroom and on the field.”
Thompkins is looking forward to playing and practicing against the best of the best at the Under Armour All-America Game.
“I’m most looking forward to is being able to bond with guys that have the same type of accomplishments I have,” Thompkins said. “There are a lot of guys on the roster that I would like to compete against. Tony Brown, one of the top ranked corners right now, just any top ranked guy on defense I would like to be able to compete against and say I went against them when I was in high school.
“I’m just excited to play. I’ve watched it before, and I told myself I wanted to play in that game…and to be able to play in the game is a dream come true.”
The 5-foot-11, 176-pound Thompkins is the No. 55 ranked overall prospect, and the No. 6 athlete in the class. He committed to Penn State over offers from Florida, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Clemson, N.C. State, and others.