football

Thompson headed to Pac-10

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During Cal's junior day on Saturday, Shaq Thompson had a chance to sit down and discuss the future of the Golden Bears' defense with defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and defensive backs coach Ashley Ambrose.
Thompson loved the message.
The Sacramento (Calif.) Grant safety was so impressed that he decided to commit before leaving Berkeley.
"I sat down and talked with coach Pendergast and coach Ashley Ambrose and they told me what was really happening and how they're changing the defense a lot," Thompson said. "They're going to man up and they were talking about a lot of other stuff and I felt comfortable with it. These are the coaches I want to play for.
"Zone doesn't really work and in the NFL you're mostly in man so it will help me and my teammates who play defensive back and safety. We'll learn man-to-man so when we get to the next level we'll already have played man."
Thompson is arguably the top prospect in California and one of the top recruits on the West Coast so it's a big-time pickup for the Golden Bears. Washington was also making a strong push and Auburn, USC and many other programs were involved in his recruitment.
Location also played a big factor for Thompson, who not only is a standout defensive back but also rushed for 1,882 yards and 25 touchdowns on 164 carries in his junior season.
"Washington came up but then after that it was a family thing that played into my decision," Thompson said. "I want my family to come watch me and I don't want them to have to keep paying to fly down and fly back. I decided to stay home.
"I'm going to talk to coach (Jeff) Tedford but I think they might give me a chance on offense, too."
Part of that family decision involved Thompson's brother, Syd'Quan, a four-star standout at Sacramento Grant who starred at Cal and now plays for the Denver Broncos. His success with the Golden Bears played a role in the decision.
"It feels good because my brother is a big part of my life and a big influence," Thompson said. "I followed him from high school and now to college and he opened the path for me and I just followed it."
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