January 16, 2012
Cal loses football recruiting guru Lupoi; does it impact Shaq Thompson, Arik Armstead?

Recruiting. It never ends, and it's never boring.

The news within the last hour of Cal recruiting guru Tosh Lupoi bolting to the Washington Huskies for a significant pay raise to help coach that defense is a two-way blow that could leave a lasting ripple effect for recruits across the land.

The hire marks a significant boost for Washington as prime recruiters are prized employees, and Lupoi has earned a reputation as one of the country's best.
It's an even bigger blow to the Bears in Berkeley with this being the final, frantic weeks of recruiting, including scores of home visits just this weekend.

Every recruit I've talked to has raved about Lupoi - his character, his personality, his impact. Grant High School graduates Vei Moala and Puka Lopa went to Cal last year in part to play D-line for Lupoi.

Grant star Shaq Thompson committed to Cal earlier this month, and though the safety would not have Lupoi as his position coach, he, too, spoke highly about Lopoi..
Upon learning of Lupoi's decision to go to Washington just now, Thompson said he has to re-evaluate his commitment and that he "has some real thinking to do."

Thompson considered Washington earlier, in part because his good friend and ex-Grant teammate James Sample plays in the secondary for the Huskies. What's more, Cal also recently hired Justin Wilcox, a former Cal assistant coach - and the man who helped recruit Thompson's brother Syd to Cal, where he started at cornerback for four years. Thompson said the family got to know Wilcox well.

What about Arik Armstead of Pleasant Grove? He returned to Elk Grove from his final recruiting trip, to Auburn, and as of this writing is still considering Cal, Notre Dame, Oregon and Auburn.

He has spoke glowingly of Lupoi as well as he wants to play defensive line in college. Does Lopoi leaving change things? Losing Lopoi is like losing the supervisor you were going to work for, for maybe five years.

"He's a main reason I would go to Cal," Armstead said today. "I've got more things to think about."

Armstead's father Guss and brother Armond fly back from Notre Dame tonight. The three will talk about college destinations and announce soon. It may not be tonight now, however, with the Lopoi news.

Meanwhile, defensive lineman ace Matt Cochran of Buhach Colony in Atwater is a Cal verb commit who just Tweeted that the Lupoi news makes him "feel like we just got slightly played; makes you want to re-evaluate if you chose a school for the school or the program."

What about linemen brute Aziz Shittu, also of Buhach Colony and considering Cal and Stanford? Does Stanford now inch into the lead?

What about Sheldon defensive end/tight end prospect Nate Iese? He is taking a recruiting trip to Cal this weekend.

We do know this: offensive lineman Steven Moore of Elk Grove loved Cal yesterday and loves them just the same now. Cal coach Jeff Tedford made a home visit to Moore on Sunday, equal parts anxious about the Packers-Giants outcome and the pending Lopoi news and the ripple effect.

And make no mistake: recruits every where network, share notes and will be spending their holiday today texting and calling each other for insight and thoughts.
For more updates/news, follow on Twitter: sb_joedavidson



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Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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