In the early part of 2012, Tosh Lupoi made headlines when he took a big raise and left his alma mater Cal to head to Washington. The talented D-line coach was known on the west coast as kind of a Pied Piper when it came to relating to recruits.
Think Jeremy Pruitt got a lot of pub over the past few months since leaving FSU to come on board with Georgia? Well in Pac 12 country, Lupoi is that guy.
Players love him. When he bolted for the Huskies, five-star DB Shaq Thompson abruptly changed directions and quit looking at Cal–the school his brother had played for and he lived only a short distance from (Sacramento to Berkeley is a leisurely commute). That gives an idea of how Lupoi had an effect on kids. Thompson wasn’t the only one. Not everybody ended up at Washington with Lupoi, but when he left Cal–he left a wake of destruction behind him. Five star defensive linemen Arik Armstead and Ellis McCarthy no longer considered the Bears either, and went elsewhere in the Pac-12.
So why does any of this matter to the SEC? Because Lupoi made it official last night, Tweeting his allegiance to Alabama It had been in the works for a few days, but he made it official when he Tweeted #RollTide. He also changed the background of his Twitter feed to indicate he’s on board with the ‘Tide and now lives in Tuscaloosa. He also showed up at Alabama’s spring practice Wednesday, though not all details have been released yet. Alabama’s staff is set, as this is April … so he may end up being in a unique role this season instead of being a full-blown position coach. But make no mistake, he’ll play a big role in enticing kids to come to Alabama.
Now, the Pacific Coast is Lupoi’s native territory–specifically California. But California would be a nice place for Bama to start mining recruits, and Lupoi’s coaching reputation could assist in scooping up those elite defensive linemen in the southeast. The SEC is defined by its play along the defensive line more than any other position. The tackles and ends are second to none, so it will be interesting to see how things go for him in a new conference.
The rich just keep getting richer at Alabama. It looked like Lupoi may have joined Steve Sarkisian at USC or maybe stayed at Washington with new coach Chris Petersen, but an accusation came forward in December linking Lupoi to some improprieties, which kept the two schools from hiring him … leaving him out in the open when he was cleared several weeks later by the NCAA. All openings at USC and Washington had dried up. That’s when Nick Saban decided to scoop him up and make room for him.