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Huskies await word from top California recruits

Arik Armstead, a defensive lineman from Elk Grove, Calif., regarded as one of the top uncommitted recruits in the nation for the Class of 2012, will announce his college choice today at 3 p.m.

Washington is reported to be one of five finalists along with Oregon, California, Notre Dame and Auburn. And if the 6-foot-8, 275-pound Armstead picks UW, it will not only pump some life into Washington’s class but also prove to be the biggest tangible evidence yet of the impact of changes UW has made in recent weeks to its assistant-coaching staff.

Armstead, rated the No. 2 player in the country by, has been the subject of a heavy recruiting effort by UW since the Huskies lured defensive-line coach Tosh Lupoi from Berkeley to Seattle.

“He wasn’t looking at Washington at all (before Lupoi was hired),” said Greg Biggins, an assistant recruiting editor and west regional coordinator at ESPN.

Armstead is also regarded as a legitimate D-I basketball prospect, and UW is among the schools also recruiting him as a two-sport player.

Armstead is one of a handful of key West Coast prospects who is still undecided, and his decision today could also affect that of another key player UW is recruiting, safety Shaq Thompson of Grant High in Sacramento, Calif.

Thompson earlier committed to Cal, then reopened his recruitment after Lupoi left for UW. Thompson had heavily considered UW from the start.

Some recruiting analysts think Armstead and Thompson could be a package deal and Thompson will follow Armstead. If UW were to get both it would go a long way toward salvaging a class that to date has been regarded as a disappointment due largely to losing out on a number of key in-state prospects.

“If they are able to turn Armstead and Shaq, that would almost make this class,” Biggins said.

The Huskies are also hoping to use their new assistants to turn another player previously committed to Cal – Lakes High receiver Cedric Dozier.

Dozier committed to Cal last fall but reopened his recruitment when the Huskies hired Eric Kiesau away from Berkeley as their new offensive coordinator. Kiesau was the receivers coach for the Bears.

UW told Dozier this week he could play receiver for the Huskies after previously recruiting him as a defensive back, and that helped convince Dozier to take an official visit to Washington.

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