January 07, 2012

SAN ANTONIO -- As far as recruiting goes, Cal enjoyed a golden Saturday at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The Bears had by far the biggest day of any program, landing three prospects rated four-stars or higher, including two top 50 prospects nationally.

Here's a breakdown of the top-tier prospects heading to Berkeley and elsewhere after Saturday's action.

S Shaq Thompson, Grant (Calif.) -- Thompson is a huge pickup for the Bears, especially considering the performance he put in front of nearly 40,000 spectators at the Alamodome. His size and speed is a rare combination for a safety and should provide an immediate boost to California's secondary.

DT Ellis McCarthy, Monrovia (Calif.) -- Cal gets one of the top defensive tackle prospects in the nation in 6-foot-5, 311-pound McCarthy. His versatility will likely give him the opportunity back up Villami Moala, but he could also serve as a perfect fit as a strong side end in the Bears' 3-4 scheme.

WR Jordan Payton, Oaks Christian (Calif.) -- Payton brings more than size as a wideout to Jeff Tedford's offense. The 6-foot-2, 199-pound wideout has a knack for making tough catches and consistently plays through contact. He should contend for playing time as early as next year.

DE Tyriq McCord, Jefferson (Fla.) -- The 6-foot-3, 222-pound McCord is a huge pledge for the Hurricanes. He brings edge-rush ability to Al Golden's staff and needs only time to fill out his frame to be a starter at weak-side defensive end. His wingspan and ability to turn the corner and close on the quarterback are elite.

S Deon Bush, Columbus (Fla.) -- The Hurricanes gained a commitment from a top national safety after many thought the 6-foot-1, 177-pounder was headed to Auburn. Bush possesses excellent quickness and leaping ability for his size, and can transform into an elite talent by bettering his hands.

LB Keith Brown, Norland (Fla.) -- Louisville joined Cal and Miami as a program with multiple commitments on the day. In the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Brown, Charlie Strong and staff get an athletic, hard-hitting linebacker that possesses sideline-to-sideline ability.

LB Nick Dawson, Phillip O. Berry (N.C.) -- The Cardinals picked up another talented linebacker in Dawson, a player that boasts both size and run-stopping ability. The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder should make a middle-of-the-field impact from day one.

RB Barry Sanders Jr., Heritage Hall (Okla.) -- The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Sanders is one of the most talented runners in the 2012 class. His speed and ability to make defenders miss in tight spaces make him a premier runner. Expect the son of the legendary Hall of Famer to be a weapon in the passing game at the next level as well.

S Elijah Shumate, Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) -- Shumate is one of the more versatile prospects in the country. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder played safety in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, but will get a look at running back at Notre Dame. Expect the physical prospect to end up on the defensive side of the ball as a safety or outside linebacker.

DE Jonathan Bullard, Crest (N.C.) -- Bullard, who hails from the same high school as former Gators' linebacker Brandon Spikes, was one of the top performers in Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Blessed with a combination of quickness and power, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound lineman will likely see the field as a freshman and add depth to Will Muschamp's 3-4 based defense.

LB Brian Nance, Trinity (Texas) -- Baylor continues to ride momentum gained in wins over Oklahoma and Texas, Robert Griffin III's Heisman announcement and a thrilling Alamo Bowl victory over Washington. In Nance, Art Briles and Co. gain an athletic outside linebacker with coveted ball skills and instincts. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder is one of the prospects in the Lone Star state when healthy.

CB Kevon Seymour, John Muir (Texas) -- Seymour is a key get for Lane Kiffin and Co. The 6-foot, 175-pounder is an excellent cornerback with quickness, the ability to stop the run and playmaking ball skills. A multi-year starter for the Trojans is a strong possibility.

S Jordan Diggs, Island Coast (Fla.) -- Diggs is a key get for the Gamecocks as he has the ability to fill the vital "SPUR" position as a hybrid safety and outside linebacker. Diggs father, Shed, played for South Carolina in the mid-1980s.

QB Anthony Alford, Petal (Miss.) -- The 6-foot, 200-pound dual-threat is the first big recruiting triumph for Southern Mississippi coach Ellis Johnson. Alford showed a live arm and very good feet throughout the week and is a game-changing talent. However, the probability of being a first-round draft choice in the 2012 MLB draft and a lucrative contract could keep him from ever donning pads at the college level.

For more recruiting information, visit 247Sports.com.

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