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Deionte Thompson recruit scouting report: Safety or wide receiver?

The West Orange-Stark product is a two-way threat in high school

Deionte Thompson
Deionte Thompson
Wescott Eberts (SB Nation)

Deionte Thompson is one of the most highly coveted secondary players in the class of 2015, as the talented safety is one of the top players in the state of Texas.

Thompson attends Orange (Texas) West-Orange Stark High School. He is a multi-positional athlete, but he is widely expected to play safety at the next level (while also listed as a wide receiver at 247Sports). He's listed at 6'2 and 181 pounds. Rivals, 247Sports, Scout and ESPN each consider him a four-star prospect, resulting in a four-star ranking by the 247Sports Composite. Scout, 247Sports and ESPN each rank Thompson as one of the top five safeties in the nation, and the Composite rates him as the fifth-best safety in the nation and the ninth-best player in Texas.

He claims offers from Alabama, Baylor, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M, among others. He can be followed on Twitter @playmaker_11.

Thompson is an enforcer over the middle of the field from his safety position on defense with the instincts to read and react to pass plays developing in front of him to secure interceptions. With the ball in his hands, his balance and long strides make him a threat return every interception to the end zone.

As impressive as those skills are, it's hard not to watch his junior film at wide receiver and wonder what he could do at that position in college at 6'2 with his long arms. On post routes, Thompson chews up so much ground with each step that defensive backs appear to have trouble gauging his speed, making him a capable deep threat. And the same big-play ability that allows him to record pick sixes can make him tough to bring down, as he can step through tacklers around his legs without losing his footing.

Thompson reportedly runs the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds, according to his 247Sports profile page, a time that looks legitimate based on his film -- the West-Orange product is much more likely to be called fluid or smooth than a burner. At a Nike event, Thompson didn't run the 40, but did run a 4.44 shuttle and had a 32-inch vertical. Neither number is particularly impressive, but Thompson's height and long arms make the latter number less important.

The question then becomes which side of the ball is the better fit for Thompson. Receivers can often get away with a lower 40 time if they have the type of deceptive, ground-eating strides that he possesses, but the ball skills that make Thompson such a good receiver would also provide some serious playmaking ability in the secondary, a nice match with his considerable striking skills.

As evidence of that playmaking ability, Thompson has recorded 11 interceptions in the last two years, returning two of his five 2013 interceptions for touchdowns.

As with current NFL wide receiver Keenan Allen coming out of high school, the difficult thing to say is which side of the ball Thompson projects better at, as he has the tools to be extremely productive on either offense or defensel in college, although the expectation as he enters the spring of his junior season is that he will play safety.