Cal’s recruiting class takes serious hit

Twice, Shaq Thompson had committed to play football for Cal next season. But the third time was not the charm for Jeff Tedford and the Golden Bears.

Thompson, the top defensive back in the country and fourth-ranked player overall according to Rivals.com, changed his mind and will take his considerable talents north to Washington.

The loss of Thompson is just the latest hit to Cal recruiting. On Monday, Cal’s defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi left his Berkeley for Washington. In 2010, Rivals.com anointed Lupoi as the National Recruiter of the Year, and it is believed that a lot of the top recruits that had committed to Cal for 2012 were secured by Lupoi.

A once-loaded recruiting class is losing bodies faster than a capsized boat. The Chronicle’s John Crumpacker believes that fellow five-star recruit Arik Armstead, a defensive end from Elk Grove, is no longer coming to Cal, and wide receiver Jordan Payton, a four-star recruit who committed to Cal the same day as Thompson, will likely head elsewhere too.

According to a story on SI.com, Lupoi may have been lured away from the Cal by a significant pay raise. In college football, recruiting is everything. Lupoi appeared to be a game changer for the Bears. Cal should have done whatever it took to keep him. $500,000 for a defensive line coach? If it means that keeping an elite recruiting class intact, you shell out the money.

Instead of watching prized recruits help return Cal to prominence, Tedford will now be forced to watch those very recruits shutdown his Bears.