With the news Monday afternoon that Cal football lost recruiting guru Tosh Lupoi to Washington within the same Pacific-12 Conference, the ripple effect for national recruits is on.
In the Sacramento region, where Cal has maintained something of a recruiting pipeline for decades, there was disappointment and shock at the Lupoi move. Cal is ranked No. 9 in the latest CBS Sports Top 25 College Football Team Recruiting Rankings
MaxPreps Top 5 national recruit Shaq Thompson
of Grant (Sacramento, Calif.)
, a safety, has gone from a firm Cal verbal commitment to now being "50-50 with Washington and Cal."Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove, Calif.)
lineman Arik Armstead
is also now curious about Cal's loss of Lopoi, a coach he had grown fast to appreciate and like. Armstead said he is still considering Cal, Notre Dame and Auburn but that "Tosh was a main reason I was thinking about Cal."
Armstead made his final recruiting trip over the weekend, flanked by older brother Armond, a former starting defensive lineman at USC who did not play last fall due to a mysterious, yet not serious health ailment. USC did not clear Armstead to play. He graduated at USC last month and is now back on the recruiting trail, wanting to play one more year to end on his terms and to shore up his NFL draft status.
The Armstead brothers want to play together, a dream, and it could happen at Notre Dame or Auburn, or not at all. Armond Armstead and father Guss visited Notre Dame on Sunday and Monday.
The Armstead family said they will announce their college destination in the coming days. It was originally scheduled for Sunday night, but the Lupoi news could delay that, Arik Armstead said.
Here's where the Lupoi news impacts Thompson: Like scores of others, he too, raves about Lupoi, even though Lupoi oversees defensive linemen. Also, Thompson's good friend in former Grant teammate James
Sample is already at Washington. There suddenly could be comfort in familiarity.
Former Cal assistant coach Justin Wilcox has also been freshly hired by Washington. Thompson said Wilcox recruited his brother Syd Thompson years ago. Syd started at cornerback for four years at Cal and is now
a second-year defensive back with the Denver Broncos.
Thompson, like all national recruits, won't sign a National Letter of Intent until at least Feb. 1. He said he has plenty of time to sort things out. He said he had a home visit on Sunday from Lupoi, who at that time did not expect to be heading to Washington.
Needless to say, Thompson was floored by the news Monday. He has not talked to Lupoi by noon Monday, but expected to hear from him sometime later in the afternoon. None of the recruits could blame Lupoi from jumping ship. According to reports, he almost tripled his salary.
"He's just a great guy, and players are comfortable around him," Thompson said of Lupoi. "I'm still deciding what to do. May not know until (letter of intent day)."
Lupoi had an impact on getting Salesian (Richmond, Calif.)
offensive lineman Freddie Tagaloa
to Cal over Stanford. Tagaloa, a 6-7, 315-pound offensive lineman, is the No. 69 recruit in the country. His other finalist were USC and Oregon, but according to Salesian coach Chad Nightingale, it was a very close call between Cal and the Cardinal.
Lupoi's departure could lead Tagaloa back to The Farm, though he hasn't said so.
Recent Cal commit Jordan Payton
, a wide receiver from Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.)
, said on his Twitter account that he will take a "serious look into other schools." Payton is the No. 81 overall recruit in the country. Senior writer Mitch Stephens contributed to this report. Joe Davidson has covered prep sports for The Sacramento Bee since 1988. Follow him on Twitter: sb_joedavidson