Making the morning rounds.
• Earning every penny. Two weeks ago, Washington doubled Tosh Lupoi's salary to lure the Pac-12's best recruiter from Cal. Monday night, it began paying off with the verbal commitment of coveted Sacramento, Calif., safety Shaq Thompson, who backed out of his pledge to Cal when Lupoi left and broke the news of his own defection on his Twitter feed a little before midnight Pacific time. Coach Steve Sarkisian's reaction, and I quote: "WOOOOOOOFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Those exclamation points are justified: Rivals rates Thompson as the No. 1 player in California and No. 4 player nationally in the 2012 class, comparing him to former USC All-American and all-purpose freak of nature Taylor Mays. And that is why you pony up for recruiting coordinators whether they can coach football or not. [Seattle Times, @ItsShaqThompson, @CoachSark, Sacramento Bee]
• A giant in his field. In other five-star news: Thompson's pledge to U-Dub came just a few hours after 6-foot-9, 310-pound Lakewood, Wash., offensive lineman Zach Banner — the No. 1 prospect in Washington and No. 16 nationally, per Rivals — spurned the Huskies in favor of USC, giving the Trojans their first five-star commitment of the 2012 class. Don't expect it to be the last: SC is still hot in pursuit of two other five-star offensive tackles, Kyle Murphy of San Clemente, Calif., and Tempe, Ariz., behemoth Andrus Peat. [Orange County Register, Northwest Preps Report]
• Is there a weight limit on this #troll? As awkward commitment ceremonies go, no one will ever unseat Landon Collins' mother. But a tip of the cap nevertheless today to three-star quarterback Jeremy Liggins of Oxford, Miss., who mustered the chutzpah Monday night to gather a standing-room-only audience in the Square, bordering Ole Miss' campus, for the purpose of picking up an LSU helmet and telling the hometown crowd "Go Tigers baby." (For the record, LSU is getting a 6-foot-3, 270-pound quarterback who somehow qualifies as a "dual threat," a combination which can only be described as "Lorenzenesque.")
"I felt like I had to be respected too because this is my hometown, not just Ole Miss," Liggins told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. "I grew up here. I wasn't just doing it to go against Ole Miss, I was doing it to support my hometown." [Clarion-Ledger]
• Now you're just making stuff up. In non-commitment news, John Beckham — high school coach and adoptive father of massively hyped Springfield, Mo., wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham — refuted a Tulsa World report that DGB has decided to sign with Missouri over fellow suitors Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, curtly telling the paper Monday night "that has not taken place." Green-Beckham is scheduled to make his announcement Wednesday in a 9 a.m. ceremony on ESPNU. [Tulsa World]
Those are the "alternate" helmets Illinois' new coaching staff have on display for Illini recruits, and possibly on tap for next season — emphasis on possibly. "While our coaches have been displaying those for recruits, those are just options we've been exploring for new helmets," a team spokesman told the Big Ten Network. "No decisions have been made yet on helmet, uniform changes, or if there will even be a change." [Big Ten Network, Illinois Loyalty
Quickly… Brady Hoke's "Ohio" habit has spread to Michigan basketball. ... Iowa yanks a scholarship offer from a running back in New Jersey. … Memphis loses a quarterback to transfer, but picks up another on the recruiting trail. … A good read on Bobby Sabelhaus, recruiting bust turned Hollywood producer. … Oklahoma center Ben Habern will miss spring practice with a neck injury. … The Poynter Institute chides the New York Times and the Yale Daily News over their coverage of Patrick Witt. … And one day before signing day for the class of 2012, it's time to meet the crown jewel of the class of 2013, Robert Nkemdiche.