- Josh Moyer, ESPN Staff Writer
Every week, NittanyNation will pose five questions to a recruit, player, alum or coach about all things Penn State.
This week's subject is DeAndre Thompkins, a 2014 athlete out of Swansboro (N.C.) who already holds seven offers -- including one from the Nittany Lions. Thompkins will be in Happy Valley for Penn State's final game against Wisconsin.
Penn State is looking at Thompkins mainly as a wideout who could double as a kick returner. Depending on how quickly he adjusts, he might also be utilized in nickel packages.
NittanyNation: You're scheduled to make an unofficial visit to Penn State this weekend. How much are you looking forward to that?
DeAndre Thompkins: I'm very excited. I talked to Coach [Ted] Roof, he's a very nice guy and explained to me what we'll be doing. I'm going to be watching practice Friday and talking to academic advisers and meeting the players. So I'm excited to see some of those guys who play on TV.
NN: Is there a player or two you're especially looking forward to speak with?
DT: Well, I want to try to meet some of the recruits so I can get a better idea about Penn State. And there was one guy -- named Christian Hackenberg. Coach really put a big star over him, so I want to meet him and see what he thinks about Penn State. What I've heard about him is he's a great player and has a great personality. I just want to touch base and meet him face-to-face to see what he thinks about Penn State and stuff like that.
NN: What is your relationship like with Ted Roof, and what are some of the things you two discuss?
DT: We talk pretty often, actually. I call him almost every weekend and try to touch base and not just talk about football but everything about Penn State. It's a pretty good relationship; he's down to earth. He's cool and, as far as over the phone, he's funny and he relates to younger guys. He's always very informational and if you have any questions you want to ask him, he'll answer it truthfully. He's a very nice guy.
We just talk about life as a college football player at Penn State, what you go through, how your day is set up, what the practices are like, just regular life as a Penn State football player. It made me excited because I can't wait to get to that next level and have those new experiences. It makes me want to push harder and get better.
NN: As a recruit from North Carolina, what was your reaction to the Big Ten expansion? Does that play a role at all in what you think of Big Ten schools?
DT: It definitely plays a role in it, not as far as swaying my decision -- but as far as the more teams we play, the better we'll be. When I first saw that Maryland was moving to the Big Ten -- and Rutgers -- I was more excited because that's more teams we'll face, that's more challenges we'll have and I think I can speak for any D-I prospect and say a challenge is what we want to have. ... It's better to play different teams than the same ones every season.
NN: What's your take on Penn State's sanctions? Is that something that might sway you?
DT: The sanctions are not something I have really looked at, and Penn State's trying to turn it around. It's not something that would sway my decision about them. They're still one of the top-ranked schools, and they're good overall. I don't think I would say that's a con because they're trying to put the sanctions behind them. They're trying to make everything better there.
Just looking up websites about Penn State, with academics and football, it's a well-crafted school. They're not the very best at academics, but they're up there. They're not up there for football all the way, but they're a school you hear around the world. So this is a school that, if I ever did get hurt, I think I'd still like it there to try to get my education.
4dBrian Bennett and Josh Moyer