U.S. Army All-American Bowl 2012: Breaking Down Shaq Thompson's Finalists

Johnathan CaceCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2012

U.S. Army All-American Bowl 2012: Breaking Down Shaq Thompson's Finalists

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    One of the nation’s top safeties Shaq Thompson has decided to announce his college decision at Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The finalist for the U.S. Army Defensive and Overall Player of the Year has taken visits to Cal, Arizona State, Oregon, Notre Dame and Washington, but his recruitment has been anything but ordinary.

    He eliminated Oregon for being located in too small of a city, Arizona State for firing all of their coaches and then added USC to his list. But then he took the Trojans back out of the running after posting on Twitter that he wasn’t too interested anymore and people didn’t take him seriously. His top three is now Cal, Notre Dame and Washington, but he has also developed an interest in UCLA and will take an unofficial visit there after making his decision to make sure he got it right.

    So who will come out on top in this race? Let’s break down the top three contenders.

Washington

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    Steve Sarkisian has Washington going in the right direction and the combination of that and the campus’ proximity to Seattle could be enough to land Thompson. The school impressed him mom which is one of the requirements, but other than that he hasn’t said anything particularly glowing about the program since his visit in September.

    My guess would be that he likes the school but isn’t 100 percent sold about going there. The Huskies weren’t in the top three until USC dropped out and he has made no indication that they have made significant progress as of late. With his announcement coming on Saturday, it would be a pretty big shock if he went to Washington.

Notre Dame

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    Thompson took the Irish out of consideration for a while but they are squarely back in the thick of things because of his relationship with Bryan Kelly, the coaching staff and 4-star cornerback Tee Shepard. He will apparently pick USC or Notre Dame out of a hat to decide his college fate, literally, but Shaq thinks he will honor his original commitment to the Irish.

    But if he really took Oregon out of the running for being in too small of a town, what’s so different about South Bend? It would be a surprise to many people if he picked Notre Dame, but you can bet that if he does, Shepard will follow him there.

Cal

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    The Bears are the hometown team, his brother Syd’Quan went there and he hasn’t denied the fact that they are the top school. The only thing that would keep him out of Berkeley would be the coaching situation.

    Jeff Tedford has failed to impress in recent years and with all of the coaching changes taking place across the Pac-12, the university could send him on his way out sooner rather than later. If Shaq feels like he won’t be there for all four years, it could really factor into his decision.

    There’s about a 75 percent chance he goes to Cal, a 20 percent chance he goes to Notre Dame, four percent chance he goes to Washington and a one percent chance he ends up switching to UCLA after visiting next week.