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Justin Wilcox heading to USC; Tosh Lupoi off Washington’s staff

One of two key defensive assistants on Steve Sarkisian’s staff at Washington will be joining the head coach at USC.

Justin Wilcox WashingtonMultiple reports have said that Justin Wilcox is expected to be announced as USC’s next defensive coordinator. Wilcox served as defensive coordinator for the Huskies the past two seasons following stints as the defensive coordinator at Tennessee and Boise State. Wilcox has long been expected to join Sark at USC; his expensive buyout was the obstacle keeping him from leaving Seattle for LA.

The Seattle Times’ Adam Jude says Wilcox signed a “mutual termination agreement” with Washington and that no money changed hands between UW and USC.

The situation with Tosh Lupoi is an interesting one. Lupoi was a defensive line coach at Washington and considered to be one of the best recruiters in the country. He was expected to join Sark at USC, but that plan was abandoned after Lupoi was implicated in a recruiting scandal.

Jude reports that Lupoi has “been reassigned to other duties within the athletic dept.” Jude says the amount of money Washington would have to pay Lupoi for terminating him without cause is $700,000, but that figures cuts in half if he is let go between Jan. 14, 2014-Feb 2015.

We imagine Lupoi will be punished by the NCAA, which would probably keep him out of top coaching jobs for a year or two. Still, between Wilcox, Marques Tuiasosopo and more, Sarkisian has done a good job of keeping his staff together.

Tosh Lupoi investigated for alleging paying for recruit Andrew Basham’s academics

Tosh LupoiTosh Lupoi, who is considered to be one of the best recruiters in the entire country, is being investigated for allegedly paying for a recruit’s SAT tutoring and academics. Lupoi’s alleged improper conduct occurred earlier this year while he was a defensive line coach at Washington, and involves recruit Andrew Basham, who failed to qualify academically despite signing a letter of intent to play for the Huskies.

The Los Angeles Times and USC’s compliance department received a tip about Lupoi’s (pictured) alleged improper conduct. The Times published a lengthy report on the matter Wednesday night, while USC is investigating the matter.

As we have been writing here at LBS, Lupoi is one of the main assistant coaches Steve Sarkisian wanted to bring with him to USC. Though he is still considered a Washington assistant, Lupoi supposedly told a recruit he was going to USC.

According to The Times’ report, Lupoi is accused of paying $4,500 over two separate payments to a middleman in an effort to help Basham qualify academically for Washington. Basham is a top defensive end from Lynnwood High School in Washington, nearby the UW campus. He also won the state title in the shotput. The middleman is said to be Mike Davis, a throwing coach who helped Basham in the shotput.

Lupoi is accused of giving Davis $3,000 in February to pay for private SAT tutoring for Basham. That payment exchange allegedly took place inside a restaurant at a mall in Washington. The second payment allegedly was for $1,500 to pay back the Basham family, who paid for online courses through Laurel Springs School intended to boost their son’s GPA. That transaction allegedly took place inside the Washington football facility in May.

One of the funny/interesting tidbits from the story is that one cash transaction was in a brown paper bag tucked into a booth, and the other was in a coffee cup. Just the type of back-alley type stuff you envisioned.

The NCAA is investigating the issue, and Lupoi likely will not be able to coach at USC or Washington as a result. He has denied wrongdoing.

Another issue is whether Sarkisian could face sanctions or punishment because this happened while Lupoi was on his staff. Bylaw Blog says Sark could face punishment based on the rules, but USC’s compliance department is not worried.

“We don’t have concerns about Steve’s involvement,” USC VP of compliance David Roberts told The Times.

What’s bad news for Lupoi is that Davis has bank statements to support his story, so there is a damning paper trail.

Part of the motivation for the story being tipped to USC and The Times could be that Davis and the Bashams seemed upset that Lupoi ignored them after Basham failed to qualify. This would certainly be a big way to get him back.

Tosh Lupoi reportedly tells recruit he’s going to be at USC

Tosh LupoiHere’s a report that should please USC Trojans fans: Tosh Lupoi supposedly told a recruit that he is going to USC.

Lupoi, who is considered one of the top recruiters in the country, has been the defensive line/run game coordinator at Washington the past two seasons. His status has been in flux since Steve Sarkisian left Washington for USC, but all indications have pointed to him joining Sark in LA. The big obstacle is said to be a $400,000 buyout for him leaving to coach another Pac-12 school.

247 Sports says defensive end recruit Tui Talia of Diablo Valley College in California is still being pursued by Lupoi even though he’s committed to Oregon.

Talia was originally committed to Washington, but he flipped to Oregon, and Lupoi is still trying to recruit him. Only Lupoi now is supposedly recruiting him to USC, not Seattle.

“I guess USC has kept trying to contact me,” Talia told 247 Sports. “They have been talking to my coach but I haven’t talked to them. He was saying he talked to coach Lupoi but he was talking about him going to USC and he wants me there.”

Talia says he’s firmly committed to Oregon, but that’s not the big story. The big story is that Lupoi appears to be heading to USC.

Lupoi supposedly denied the report. Here’s what Kim Grinolds of Dawgman.com reported:

I’m still expecting Lupoi to end up at USC. The other big question is what happens with Justin Wilcox.

Wilcox was said to be a head coaching candidate for the Boise State job that went to Bryan Harsin. New Washington coach Chris Petersen brought his defensive coordinator with him from Boise State to Washington, but The Seattle Times’ Adam Jude believes Petersen will still try to retain Wilcox, who was his defensive coordinator at Boise State for four years. Sark also reportedly wants Wilcox at USC, but the problem may be his $1 million buyout.

Justin Wilcox, Tosh Lupoi buyouts are obstacle for USC

Justin Wilcox WashingtonUSC wants Washington Huskies defensive assistant coaches Justin Wilcox and Tosh Lupoi to join Steve Sarkisian’s staff, but their buyouts at Washington remain an obstacle.

Wilcox, who has served as Washington defensive coordinator the past two seasons following stints at Tennessee and Boise State, has a $1 million buyout. Lupoi, who is a defensive line coach and considered one of the best recruiters in the country, has a $400,000 buyout.

LA Daily News USC football reporter Scott Wolf says the Trojans will pay $400,000 for Lupoi’s buyout, but they don’t want to pay a million for Wilcox:

Wilcox is said to be a candidate to replace Sarkisian as the Huskies’ head coach, but there are a few bad signs. For one, the Huskies interviewed Chris Petersen and Doug Nussmeier for the position. Two, they named Marques Tuiasosopo interim head coach for their bowl game. It sounds like they are preparing for him to leave for USC.

Huskies running backs coach Johnny Nansen, defensive backs coach Keith Heyward, and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon are among those headed to USC with Sark, as reported by Softy Mahler and Adam Jude. With Sarkisian taking half the Huskies staff with him to Los Angeles, the new Washington coach will likely bring in a bunch of new staffers.

Justin Wilcox, Tosh Lupoi reportedly going to USC with Sarkisian

Tosh LupoiUSC may be getting more than just Steve Sarkisian as the new coach of the football program. They may also be getting some of his top assistants.

According to reports, Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and Washington defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi (pictured right) will be coming with Sark to So Cal.

Dave “Softy” Mahler of KJR in Seattle reported the news about Wilcox and Lupoi:

Adam Gorney at Rivals also reported it:

Lupoi played college football at Cal and was a successful defensive coach and recruiter under Jeff Tedford from 2008-2011 until being hired by Sarkisian. Sark bringing him to LA would also have another consequence — it would likely mean Ed Orgeron, who is also a defensive line coach, would not be retained by USC.

Justin Wilcox WashingtonWilcox (pictured) is another former Jeff Tedford assistant at Cal. He also served as defensive coordinator under Chris Petersen at Boise State and Derrick Dooley at Tennessee before being hired by Sarkisian last year. He is said to be a candidate to fill the Washington vacancy now that Sarkisian is leaving, so it might not be a guarantee that he accompanies Sark to LA.

In many cases, the ability of the head coach to fill his staff with quality assistants has immeasurable importance. If Sarkisian can bring two of his top assistants with him, that will give him a great advantage in recruiting and implementing schemes.

Also see: Steve Sarkisian is a good coach but likely won’t build a dynasty at USC