Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Huskies land #1 safety in country Shaq Thompson!

By Kshell

In sports one player can truly make the difference in the perception of your team. That point was further proven tonight when Grant Union High School star Shaq Thompson tweeted he was going to the Washington Huskies. On the same day the Huskies recruiting hit rock bottom in the Sarkisian era as they landed just one of five recruits in state the Huskies landed the biggest recruit since Reggie Williams. Shaq Thompson is a five star safety from out of state(Sacramento, California) who is the #1 ranked safety in the nation. He is also the #3 overall player in the entire country. For Sarkisian this is the third five star recruit he has landed in the last two years. For the Huskies they moved up from 46th to 34th in the country according to scout.com and moved up to 26th according to rivals. com. The Huskies aren't done recruiting yet as they plan to steal another highly recruited player from the California Golden Bears four star wide receiver Jordan Payton. The California Golden Bears who once had a top five class in the country have lost the #2 and #3 overall players in the country in a span of 36 hours to conference foes. This move for Sarkisian was a giant move for this recruiting class as he still has one more day to land some key kids.

The Huskies are landing the #1 safety in the country from out of state which is very significant. Thompson who was originally a Golden Bear commit chose the Huskies over the Michigan Wolverines, USC Trojans, UCLA Bruins, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Florida Gators, Arizona State Sun Devils, Oregon Ducks and of course the California Golden Bears. Thompson is a great athlete who can play both safety positions as well as both corner positions. He can and will play some receiver/running back this season too so expect some trick plays with Thompson. Thompson is electric in the open field so expect him to return kicks and when he has an interception he is looking to score. Thompson will also play baseball like another Huskies safety who was a legend Lawyer Milloy. Thompson along with teammates Sean Parker and James Sample(Thompson's cousin) form a great trio of safeties for the Huskies bringing them back to the days of Safety U.

There was a time when the Huskies were safety university starting with Shane Pahukoa and highly recruited Tommie Smith from California. That tandem helped the Huskies to three Rose Bowls and a national championship. Following that terrific tandem was the greatest safety in Huskies history Lawyer Milloy who was first team all pac-10 twice and an all-american. Milloy like Thompson also played baseball and led the team in tackles in 1994 and 1995. Milloy would go on to the NFL where he won a super bowl and made several Pro Bowl appearances. In fact Milloy on twitter was very influential in landing Thompson as those two were tweeting back and forth. Following up Milloy was another future NFL player in Tony Parish who was also first team all Pac-10 as well. After Parish the Huskies enjoyed the tandem of Hakim Akbar and the late Curtis Williams who helped the Huskies earn a Rose Bowl title in 2000. After that there was a drop off until 2006 when C.J. Wallace was named first team all Pac-10 and eventually made the NFL. The Huskies now with Parker, Sample and Thompson are returning back to that era of greatness with the safety play. Milloy wasn't the only one who recruited Thompson hard. Instead the man that athletic director Scott Woodward paid a lot of money towards came through right off the bat.

After the defense let the Huskies down in the Alamo Bowl Sarkisian and Woodward recognized changes needed to be made. They hired former Oregon Ducks players Justin Wilcox and Peter Sirmon as coaches. Then the Huskies stole former California coach and player Tosh Lupoi to their staff. Lupoi was named the recruiter of the year in 2010 and was a big reason why the Golden Bears had a top five recruiting class. The Huskies finished second on Thompson originally to California but when hiring Wilcox(coached Thompson's brother) and Lupoi(played with Thompson's brother and is very close to Thompson) that changed everything. Lupoi is a big reason why many expect the Huskies to land four star wide receiver Jordan Payton tomorrow. Lupoi has been on the job less than a month and has already made an impact on this recruiting class. As CEO of this program Sarkisian deserves a lot of credit as well for scouting out Lupoi. Woodward who is basically the owner of this program spent enough money to convince Lupoi to leave his alma matter for Washington. Lupoi will truly make his name with the Huskies next season when he has a whole season to recruit. Remember this year the Golden Bears were ranked in the top five then Lupoi leaves and they are now ranked 33rd while Washington is up to 34th. Lupoi is the Mariano Rivera of this staff which is what they needed. The knock on Sarkisian is that he can get guys interested in the Huskies that the Huskies have no business being in the running for but can't close. Well he has his closer now so look out Pac-12 here comes the Dawgs!

This was a huge land by the Sarkisian staff on the same day he lost out on Banner. Tomorrow's headlines won't care about losing out on Banner as Sarkisian went out of state and landed a top five player in the nation to decommit and come to Washington. For the third straight year now it is looking like the Huskies will have a ranked recruiting class. Unlike last two years where Sarkisian wrapped up the classes early this year was at the very last second and there are more recruits to be had in the next 48 hours. Sarkisian stepped up and replaced his staff admitting he couldn't do it alone. Whether Lupoi or Sarkisian landed Thompson doesn't matter. What matters is the Huskies got a premiere defensive player for the first time in a very long time. Recruiting matters and the Huskies just knocked one out of the ball park with two outs in the ninth inning when everyone had counted them out for the dead this recruiting season including myself.

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