After Tosh Lupoi bolted from the Cal coaching staff this weekend, the Cal Gang, the elite class of 2012 recruits he helped assemble, is disintegrating with less than two weeks to go until Signing Day.
Shaq Thompson, 6-2, 210, the top-rated safety in the country and a consensus 5-star recruit, has reopened his recruiting and has a top three of Washington, Oregon and Cal. Nick Aliotti visited him today.
Photo right: proud, confident and poised, Shaq Thompson is one of the top high school football recruits in the entire country.
Thompson is a tremendous all-around athlete with great presence on the field. He'll remind many Duck fans of Anthony Newman, a three-year starter at Oregon who went on to play 12 years in the NFL. An Army All-American from Grant High in Sacramento, Thompson closes extremely well, covers a lot of ground in the secondary and tackles like Chuck Norris in cleats. He has the kind of presence and special ability on defense that De'Anthony Thomas displayed as a freshman on offense, with exceptional football instincts and awareness. He's the younger brother of former Cal Bear All-American cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson, so he's grown up playing around older, elite athletes, and it shows.
According to rivals.com, Shaq's earned a 3.2 high school G.P.A. and has been clocked at 4.57 in the 40. That's good speed for a safety, but his anticipation and fluid confidence makes him play even faster. He's a leader and a game-changer. If Oregon were to land him, he's likely to influence a couple of other players to join him, maybe even Arik Armstead. Even adding Thompson alone to what is a very solid recruiting class might make it Oregon's best ever.