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D-line coach Lupoi leaves for Washington

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JANUARY 16, 2012

Cal’s No. 10 recruiting class may be in jeopardy. At the very least, whatever hopes fans had for next fall just got severely damaged.

Defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi, who doubled as the Bears’ star recruiter, has left for a similar position at Washington. After four years on Cal’s staff, the Huskies announced today that Lupoi will be their new defensive line coach and defensive run game coordinator.

Lupoi was making $164,000 in Berkeley. Washington has not yet released financial details, but the Seattle Times reported a rumored contract of $500,000.

In 2006, Lupoi — a former Cal player and graduate assistant — was hired at 26 as the youngest full-time coach in program history. Since then, he has helped reel in big-time recruits from all over the country in addition to building one of the most talented defensive lines in the Pac-12.

Last season, the Bears’ defense — ranked 25th in the nation — allowed a conference-low 332.9 yards per game. Washington gave up 453.3, ahead of only Arizona, and was ranked 106th in the country.

Cal’s most recent recruiting class, ranked No. 10 nationally by Rivals.com and No. 12 by Scout.com, owed much of its prominence to Lupoi. The group was headlined by a pair of five-star recruits: defensive back Shaq Thompson, from Sacramento’s Grant High, and defensive lineman Ellis McCarthy, from Monrovia High in Los Angeles County.

After news of Lupoi’s departure, Thompson tweeted:

If both he and McCarthy hold to their verbal commitments, Cal will have two five-star recruits in a single recruiting class for the first time in school history.

How much of a hit the Bears take on the recruiting front remains to be seen. Some recruits, such as four-star receiver Bryce Treggs, have reaffirmed their commitment. Cal’s attempts to secure undecided recruits also now becomes much more difficult. Five-star defensive end Aziz Shittu and four-star end Arik Armstead have both been on the Bears’ radar. Shittu, who originally committed to Stanford, tweeted:

National Signing Day for the class of 2012 is two weeks away.

UPDATE: The first of the dominoes has fallen. McCarthy has switched his commitment to UCLA.

Contact Jack Wang at 


JANUARY 22, 2012