This year’s starting “Z” receiver, DeAndre Thompkins enters his redshirt junior season with a newfound confidence, if not the hype we’ve given him in past seasons. The North Carolina prospect was one of the speediest players in the 2014 Penn State recruiting class, a top ten player in his home state and a four-star wide receiver, he redshirted his first season due to injury and stepped on the field in 2015 as yet another option for then-quarterback Christian Hackenberg.
Thompkins, in his two years in the program, has often been overlooked for now-NFLer Chris Godwin, as well as seniors DaeSean Hamilton and Saeed Blacknall, the latter of whom Thompkins will likely compete with for the starting position all season. He’s had some inconsistency, coupling jaw-dropping plays with inexplicable ones. But in his fourth year in Happy Valley, and second under Joe Moorhead, Thompkins no longer will be relegated to special teams, and has a great opportunity to be a big factor in the passing game, whether he holds onto his starting spot or not.
He’s playing a slightly different position this year; last season, he was Hamilton’s primary backup in the “H” position. He has the speed and athleticism to make an impact wherever he lines up on the field.