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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

January 16, 2012 at 10:49 PM

Monday night notes — Banner, Dozier, Russell react to Lupoi hire, and more

I’m not sure I’ve ever started and re-written as many blog posts in one day as I have today. But what loomed as potentially a lazy Monday turned into one of the busier of the off-season, with the news of Tosh Lupoi’s hire and the transfer of Nick Montana. If nothing else, each at least gave confirmation and finalist to what had been rumors for weeks.

The Montana news delayed getting some more reaction to the Lupoi news on here, so time to catch up with some of that:

— First off, here’s my story for the paper attempting to put in perspective his hire and what it may mean for UW.

— The San Jose Mercury News looks at what it may mean for Cal and also quotes safety highly-rated Shaq Thompson — who had committed to Cal and was the one player whose recruitment seemed to most hinge on just UW and Cal by the end of it — saying he may now need the next two weeks to figure out what he wants to do. Thompson is also quoted in this story from the Sacramento Bee. BearInsider also has lots of stuff on how this may impact Cal recruits.

— BearTalk reports that Cal tried to keep Lupoi but UW simply offered too much, including — it’s rumored — a boat.

Mason Kelley of our staff caught up with receiver Cedric Dozier of Lakes at King Holiday Hoopfest at Hec Ed (Lakes was playing in the tournament). Dozier praised Lupoi but also said he is sticking with his commitment to Cal.

“He’s a good man. From everything that I saw, chilling with him and stuff, it was like, ‘he’s a cool dude.’ I like him a lot. He’s a big reason why I did commit to the University of California. But for me, I had already gotten experience talking to older guys. They told me, ‘never commit because of a coach.’ The same thing happened. My commitment to the University of California, it wasn’t because of just Tosh Lupoi. It was because of a lot of things. That was just one factor. He’s good man. I wish him the best.”

— Kelley, doing lots of good work up there today, also caught up with Zach Banner, like Dozier, playing for Lakes in the King Hoopfest:

Here’s what Banner said about the timeline for his decision: “I have my visit. I leave on Friday for my last visit to USC. Commitment day is probably going to be on National Signing Day. It’s a big decision, but I’m not really thinking about it. I’m just playing with my team. The feeling will come. I’ve got one more visit. I’ll know after that.”

Here’s what he said about his list of finalists, saying it’s USC, Oklahoma and UW: “Those three. I understand that I made a bluff remark when I was down in San Antonio. I was just tired. We had two-a-days every day. You can understand how that was. I thought I named off the three, made a mistake and I hope that’s fixed out there by you guys.”

On his feel for the way UW is recruiting him: “I think they’ve definitely stepped up their game. It’s been a long four years. They offered me freshman year and it’s been a long process. It has a good affect on my family. They’ve been there since the beginning. I think that’s why they’re one of my final three schools.”

He also said of UW coach Steve Sarkisian that “from what I’ve heard, he’s taking his own hands into my recruitment, so that’s special.”

— Kelley also caught up with running back KeiVarae Russell of Mariner, who had Cal among his final four before choosing between Notre Dame and UW, and ultimately selecting Notre Dame. Russell said he didn’t think Lupoi would ever leave Cal and called it a “big shocker” and said it “could help UW a lot.” But he said it also doesn’t impact his decision and he is solid to Notre Dame.

— In what some have viewed as the first significant ramification of Lupoi’s departure, defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy of Monrovia, Calif., has switched from Cal to UCLA. He’s considered among the best DT prospects in the country. However, as ESPN.com’s Greg Biggins explained, this had been in the works for a while and sounds like would have happened regardless (mostly, the family wanted him at UCLA and he warmed to it once getting to know the new coaches).

— Finally, I also got this quote from Adam Gorney, the West Recruiting Analyst for Rivals.com and Yahoo.Com on Lupoi and his potential impact on UW:

“Lupoi has developed a reputation as one of the best recruiters in the Pac-12 if not the country. It could have hugely positive ramifications for Washington’s recruiting class this year with guys like Shaq Thompson and others and especially in years to come. With Steve Sarkisian’s success in Los Angeles and now Lupoi in the fold, the state of California will be ambushed by Washington coaches trying to get the best players to play for the Huskies. Lupoi has a special way with prospects. He’s still young enough to understand how to communicate with them. Many see him as a friend and mentor as much as a coach. He has a way of getting close with recruits and not coming off as phony. Getting him to Washington is a humongous coup and will only help in their recruiting efforts.”

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