By: Stephen Spiewak
SAN ANTONIO – The West team may have been the better team in the U.S. Army All-American Game, but the real winner was the University of California-Berkeley.
Cal picked up commitments from three Top 100 recruits, instantly boosting an already-solid recruiting class on the heels of a 7-6 season.
Athlete Shaq Thompson, receiver Jordan Payton and defensive lineman Ellis McCarthy all made verbal commitments to play for the Golden Bears.
The announcements of Thompson and Payton had been anticipated since yesterday, when both tweeted their intent to commit to Cal.
McCarthy was more of a surprise, as many expected him to land elsewhere.
Thompson, the nation’s No. 5 recruit, gives head coach Jeff Tedford a versatile threat who can play safety or running back at the next level.
In Payton, the Golden Bears will be getting a four-year starter and the nation’s No. 81 recruit overall.
The 6-foot-4, 310-pound McCarthy is the nation’s No. 8 overall recruit. He registered 55 tackles and five sacks as a senior.
Cal has a chance to close with an even more impressive class as National Signing Day nears, as it is still attempting to land several blue-chip targets.
Arik Armstead is still a possibility and plans to make a decision soon. Cal is also pursuing Aziz Shittu, the nation’s No. 6 defensive tackle.