Commentary

Cal picks up two key commits

Updated: January 6, 2012, 5:36 PM ET
By Greg Biggins and Damon Sayles | ESPN Recruiting Nation

SAN ANTONIO -- If their Twitter accounts hold true, ESPNU 150 safety Shaq Thompson (Sacramento, Calif./Grant) and four-star wide receiver Jordan Payton (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) will be playing for California in the fall.

[+] EnlargeShaq Thompson
John Albright/Icon SMIShaq Thompson originally committed to Cal in the spring before reopening his recruitment. But he tweeted that he's a Golden Bear again.
Thompson and Payton tweeted Friday that they plan on attending Cal. The tweets were later removed from their accounts, but both are expected to formally announce their decisions on national television Saturday during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Thompson is an elite talent, rated the No. 2 player in the state and the No. 3 safety in the nation. He committed to Cal in the spring but opened up the process and took official visits to Arizona State, Cal, Notre Dame, Oregon and Washington. USC was also involved, but it was always believed the Bears would win out in the end.

"I want to help turn this program around, and I think our class coming in has a chance to do that," Thompson said. "Cal has always been like a second family to me, and I have a great relationship with all the players and coaches there. I'm looking to do big things right away and plan to win that starting safety job from day one."

Thompson's tweet said: "Talk to my moms ... College I'm attending Cal Golden Bears.... GO BEARS." He then added that he will still announce Saturday.

Payton, ranked the No. 21 player in the state, was an early commitment to USC before both the Trojans and Payton decided to go in a different direction. He took official visits to Michigan and Notre Dame and mentioned that he was close to committing to Michigan, but the reality was Payton was never leaving the West Coast.

Even while committed to USC, there were a lot of whispers that the receiver would end up at Cal. He took a visit in early December.

Payton's tweet said: "Everyone the college I'll be attending is ... Go Golden Bears!" Payton then asked his followers to tune in to Saturday's game for the televised announcement.

If the tweets hold true, California will have picked up commits Nos. 16 and 17. Both players will suit up in the Army game for the West roster along with three-star athlete Cedric Dozier, another Cal commit.

Monrovia, Calif., defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy is also slated to announce his decision at Saturday's game, and many expect him to become a Bear too. This would be a huge upset, as USC has been a heavy leader since the summer. The Bears, led by super recruiter Tosh Lupoi, have made up a lot of ground and could seal the deal Saturday.

Regardless of whether he commits, it's believed McCarthy will visit USC and UCLA later this month.