It all started with the thunderbolt from the blue around 10 pm PT, the tweet seen 'round the world…"Just committed to the UNIVERSITY OF Washington #HUSKYNATION" UW fans that were just about to pack it in and call it a night were suddenly given a recruiting jolt that not only got them out of bed but probably kept them up half the night imagining Thompson patrolling the UW secondary like the second coming of Lawyer Milloy.
And that's what got this crazy ball of recruiting mojo headed toward Seattle, hurtling down I-5 at the speed of a Jaydon Mickens 40-yard dash (that's 4.4 seconds, if you were wondering). Thompson, Scout.com's No. 1-rated safety, had de-committed from California - where his older brother Syd'Quan repped the 916 in Berkeley. But younger brother had other thoughts and decided to leave the state.
Add to that the move of recruiting dynamo Tosh Lupoi to Seattle, and Thompson - who claimed UW was one of the schools he seriously considered before his multiple commits to Cal - had plenty to think about. An unofficial visit to the Emerald City this past weekend sealed the deal.
Not only did Thompson's commit help mitigate the loss of Lakes OL Zach Banner (who committed to USC roughly seven hours earlier), but it jump-started Washington's recruitment in a way Husky fans had never seen before.
They had some idea of what could come, but surely something would upset the good news wagon. After all, Washington had never been that strong in closing for recruits, and it had been 10 years since they had attracted a five-star prep talent from outside the state (Donny Mateaki). There was a chance that Jordan Payton and Jaydon Mickens - both scheduled to announce on Tuesday - could jump in the boat, but it wasn't a sure thing.
At 1:30 pm PT, Payton, a former USC and California commit, went on ESPNU to announce he was going to take his stock and trade to UW. Wow! He mentioned the coaches and the relationship he saw they had with the players. He mentioned the academics. He mentioned the fans! This was the kind of national acclaim Sark and crew had been hoping to mine with players like Banner and Joshua Garnett, just as he had done two seasons ago with SoCal stud Sean Parker, who picked UW over USC and Michigan during ESPN's 2010 Signing Day coverage.
When those plans fell through, it was on to Plan B; get studs from California to buy into what the Washington Experience is all about.
HERE is the ESPNU video announcement of Payton picking Washington over California and UCLA.
It worked with Thompson, and it definitely worked with Payton. But what would come next would be a shocker of a different kind. Recruiting's DB Cooper - Hawaii Prep Academy's Shane Brostek - verbally committed to Washington.
The actual commit wasn't the shocking part. Shane's father is UW great Bern Brostek, who played center for the Huskies from 1986-89. The shocker was the fact that the Brosteks would even announce anything at all. Shane never spoke once to a mainland reporter about his recruitment, even though he had officially visited Washington, Colorado, UCLA, Oregon, and Hawaii.
At one point tikis and the hula were considered as a form of communication with the Brosteks, considering cell phones and the coconut wireless proved useless. But in the end they reached out to the Hawaii press on Tuesday to spread the news that Shane would, in fact, be following his father's footsteps to Montlake.
Brostek, at 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds, is a road-grader with a mean disposition. He likes to knock you in the dirt and then rub your face in it as a formal greeting. But because he didn't engage recruiters and didn't go to camps and combines, Brostek was considered an intriguing prospect, but not one analysts wanted to go out on a limb to support - especially with so little film available.
But make no mistake; Brostek will come to UW ready to play, contribute, and most likely hurt people along the way. He'll be the Jon Brockman of football, breaking noses and bruising egos - all with a smile on his face.
On second thought, scratch the smile.
With one more precious offensive linemen in the boat, Washington fans were delirious. The Huskies were rising up the recruiting charts like a hit single. Their good fortune would continue into the evening.
After the Semper Fidelis All-American game, I spoke with Los Angeles Dorsey receiver Jaydon Mickens. He had caught a touchdown from UW-bound quarterback Jeff Lindquist, and it was clear the two had developed a rapport during the week in Phoenix. At the time, he told me that UW led Oregon '60-40' when asked if he had a college in mind.
When Oregon decided to move along, the Oklahoma State Cowboys were more than happy to pick up the slack. Mickens traded Phil Knight for T. Boone Pickens, and on his official visit to Stillwater he got the full-court press, calling it his best trip taken to date upon his return.
But Mickens is a west coast kid, having verbally committed to USC before the end of his junior season. Even though he would eventually move on from Troy, it was clear he wanted to stay close. So it wasn't a huge surprise when he pledged his immediate future to the Huskies at 7:30 pm PT in front of friends and family at the ESPNZone in downtown Los Angeles.
During his 'hat dance', Mickens almost put on a Washington State lid before tossing it to his Dorsey partner in crime, Cougar commit Jeremiah Allison. He didn't give too much of a look at the Cowboys hat. Unlike Payton, who went sans hats, Mickens threw on the UW hat, beaming and throwing his dubs up like a seasoned pro. The crowd cheered. The Dawgman chat room erupted for the second time: The first time was for when the news was leaked out pre-announcement; the second time was for…well, just because it capped off the most unexpected day in the modern history of Washington recruiting. It was pretty remarkable.
What they got instead was a double-rainbow, complete with Oompa Loompas throwing around Skittles and Everlasting Gobstoppers as trumpets blared and angels wept. That was because of Sark and his staff going into turbo BEAST MODE and finishing this class off in a way that will not only put them in good stead Wednesday, but also for the foreseeable future.