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March 17, 2011
They are the best of the best. The players that are wanted by every program and destined to make a big impact at the college level and beyond.
Rivals.com has identified the first five-star prospects for the 2012 class and is unveiling them this week. Twelve prospects have been awarded five-stars but are not ranked at this time and we will profile three each day. The five-star spotlight is now on Sacramento (Calif.) Grant safety Shaq Thompson.
Shaq Thompson, S, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant
Attributes: 6-2, 185, 4.57
Analyst's take: "Shaq Thompson played on a team with four players who signed with Pac-10 schools last recruiting cycle and two of them - Viliami Moala and James Sample - were four-star prospects and Thompson was probably the team's most valuable player. He rushed for 1,882 yards and 25 touchdowns on a team that went 13-1 and probably projects better as a defensive back. Thompson has such an outstanding feel for the game and looks so comfortable playing both sides of the ball. When I saw him against Folsom, which was also loaded with talent, Thompson was far and away the top player on the field." - Adam Gorney, Rivals.com
Why he's a five-star: "Shaq Thompson is a versatile athlete that can play either side of the ball and still be a difference maker at the next level. He has excellent ball skills and the size that will allow him to manhandle smaller receivers while still making plays on the ball." - Barry Every, Rivals.com
His coach says: "He'll be a big deal come next year. A lot of (colleges) just because they're just starting, I know everybody says they're offering but I don't know if they've officially offered him yet. Just about everywhere is involved. He gets so much mail each week from all these different places and he continues to grow. He's over 6-2 now and he might just grow out of a being a running back. I think he's a kid who can do everything. He's going to be exciting next year." - Sacramento Grant head coach Mike Alberghini
Odds and ends: There seemed to be little drama in Thompson's recruitment after he committed to Cal following its junior day a couple weeks back but then he decided to open things back up and take his time. This way Thompson can take some visits to see whether he likes any place better than Berkeley although many feel he still winds up with the Golden Bears. His brother, Syd'Quan, played at Cal and now with the Denver Broncos. Thompson started to emerge as a major national recruit after last spring's Palo Alto NIKE Camp where he and Tee Shepard proved to be shutdown defensive backs.
NFL player comparison: Darren Sharper, New Orleans Saints