There's good reason why Southern Nash HS football coach Brian Foster associates the same two words with Nadir Thompson.
By Foster's account, the Firebirds' defensive back and wide receiver treats each ladder drill, 7-on-7 session and weight room rep the same, with hard work. That's the only way Thompson knows, and for good reason.
"It comes from growing up in low circumstances and not having much when I was younger," Thompson explained to The Key Play. "Wanting to have more things when I get older is what caused me to work harder."
A recent de-commit from North Carolina State, the 5-foot-11 speedster thrives on and off the field.
Between the sidelines, he's one of only two players Foster's had in his two-decade tenure to start as a freshman.
"He can do a little bit of everything," Foster said. "We do a combination of stuff on defense. But he goes to the open-man side of the field and we don't have to worry about anything over there, which is nice."
Thompson owns offers from the North Carolina schools – UNC, State, Duke, Charlotte, East Carolina, Wake Forest – as well as Virginia and Virginia Tech.
He's got his list down to three schools and admits the Hokies are among the finalists.
"I like the tradition they have of winning," Thompson said. "I like coach Brian Mitchell, the (cornerbacks) coach. He's a genuine guy, is honest and he's pretty persuasive."
The Pirates and Cavaliers desire Thompson as a receiver. State allowed him to choose. Tech and the other candidates recruit the 2018 3-star prospect for a cornerback spot.
That's where the Sharpsburg, North Carolina native envisions a future.
"I'm one of the hybrid defensive backs because I can play coverage pretty good, man pretty good, play in zone too," he said. "It doesn't matter to me, but I'm leaning more towards defensive back because I think defensive backs last longer in the NFL than receivers do."
His goal of professional football is a high bar, but far from the lone plan for Thompson. That's where hard work enters the equation yet again.
At 17 years old, he holds a 3.9 GPA which he believes will jump up to 4.1 by the end of semester. He hopes to major in kinesiology and use that focus in a physical therapy program.
A sprinter for the school's track team, Thompson won the NCHSAA 3A 200-meter dash state championship with a 21.55-second time.
He also holds the state's indoor record at 300 meters at 34.78.
On top of those accolades, Thompson works at a local recreation center where he sometimes umpires baseball and softball games in addition to scorekeeping.
No matter the work, he gives it his all.
"I just do it. It's just nature now," he said. "It's just that when you do it for a long time, it becomes a part of you.
"Just hard working, that's what you do."
April 22 marked his de-commitment from the Wolfpack. He described the situation as one where correspondence between the State staff and himself dwindled in the past year.
"I got tired of the communication problems," he said.
Despite his allegiances to the Raleigh school from childhood, Thompson reopened his recruitment which he expects to end by late-June or early-July.
In four trips to Blacksburg, he's enjoyed what the campus provides.
"I love the campus at Virginia Tech," Thompson said. "Especially because of the Hokie Stone on all the buildings, that was pretty cool."
A commitment from the past year also sparked further interest.
"They have this DB, Devon Hunter," he said. "When he committed, that turned heads too.
"That was a pretty good safety, I think he was like No. 1 at safety in Virginia. Getting him to play for them, that's pretty cool. To be able to play with him, that would be pretty cool too."
Foster recalled when he saw his star – the No. 23 overall recruit in the state by the 247Sports Composite – as a youth.
That's when he knew he'd be a Division I athlete.
"You could tell when he was eight years old, he just had that body type," Foster divulged. "He's always been a (Division I) kind of kid."
But, it's in the details where Foster finds the moment Thompson impressed him most.
After a horrific car accident last October that left Foster's wife and son in the hospital, Thompson offered up a gesture.
He asked Zack Foster if he could wear his number the following game.
"He's got a very kind heart," Brian Foster said. "He always wants everyone to feel a part-of. Even in the weight room, he's finding the person who might feel out of place.
"I don't think he ever puts himself above other people."
For his part, the kind and forthright Thompson shrugged at any oversell of his thought.
"It was just the respect that you have for the coach and Zack being one of the players I played with before and his mom, who had an impact on my life," he said. "I felt the need to show respect for all the love I had for them. I needed to support them, represent them."
The symbolic move meant a great deal to the Foster family as an added example of Thompson's spirit.
That and relentless dedication to improvement is what stands out most to his coach.
"His effort level is just different," Brian Foster said. "He's never going to shy away from hard work, that's for sure.
"You can only say so much until you watch him work."