By Joe Davidson for MaxPreps
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - At long last, a decision and peace.
MaxPreps U.S. Air Force All-American safety/running back Shaq Thompson of Grant (Sacramento, Calif.) announced via text and Twitter that he will accept a football scholarship to Washington, thus ending a whirlwind recruitment that included twists, turns and a Tosh factor.
Said Thompson in his text, "It's where my heart is; second highest grad rate in Pac-12; love the coaches."
One of those coaches is Tosh Lupoi, the former Cal defensive line coach and highly regarded national recruiter who had been hot on Thompson's heels for two years. The two had formed a bond, not uncommon for the popular Lupoi, a former Cal player from the Bay Area.
Thompson was set for Cal with a verbal commitment to the Bears in early January at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, though he admitted later that Washington was a close second and it still wildly intrigued him since his close friend and ex-Grant teammate James Sample was there and for myriad other reasons: tradition, academics, football upside, etc.
He also tweeted Monday night, "Just committed to the UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON #HUSKYNATION," shortly after 10:15 p.m. PST.
Things started to really turn against Cal when Lupoi made a visit to Thompson's home on Jan. 15, telling him he could very well wind up coaching with Washington. The next morning, Jan. 16, Lupoi was indeed headed to the Pacific Northwest with a substantial pay raise. Washington was able to pluck a prime recruiter from under the blue rug of Cal, and the domino effect means Cal ultimately lost Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove, Calif.) All-American lineman Arik Armstead and Thompson.
Thompson said after he met with Lupoi, he was torn. Even though Lupoi doesn't coach defensive backs, Thompson felt a close connection, and it was enough to make that "50-50" dead heat into a Huskies advantage.
Washington coaches had a home visit with Thompson last week. What really settled it for Thompson, the No. 5 recruit nationally, was an unofficial recruiting trip to Washington over the weekend.
Joe Davidson has covered prep sports at The Sacramento Bee since 1988. Follow him on Twitter: sb_joedavidson