Monrovia High School’s Ellis McCarthy, the two-time Star-News Defensive Player of the Year, has decommited from Cal and is headed to UCLA, according to his father, Ed.
Through a text message to the Star-News on Monday night, Ed McCarthy simply wrote, “Ellis to UCLA.” When asked Monday morning if the departure of Cal defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi might change Ellis’ mind, Ed answered, “Yes.”
McCarthy committed to Cal during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Game nearly two weeks ago, as first reported by the Star-News. His final three choices were Cal, USC and Oregon.
McCarthy, a 6-foot-5, 311 pound defensive tackle, is a five-star recruit ranked as the nation’s top defensive tackle by Sports Illustrated. He’s also considered the top recruit in the state. McCarthy led Monrovia to its second consecutive CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship.
In McCarthy, UCLA gets a defensive tackle often compared to Ndamugkong Suh of the Detroit Lions and a former five-star recruit out of Nebraska.
McCarthy changed his mind after consulting with his family upon news that Lupoi was leaving to join Steve Sarkisian’s staff at Washington.
According to a source, UCLA defensive backs coach and former Washington recruiter Demetrice Martin was at the McCarthy residence Monday when McCarthy announced he was choosing the Bruins.
Ed went into detail about how UCLA suddenly grew in the picture.
“UCLA was always there,” Ed said. “It was always something that he thought about since he was a little child. We even have a picture of him wearing a UCLA jersey.”
As to why UCLA wasn’t one of McCarthy’s three finalists, Ed said it fell on UCLA’s former staff.
“UCLA didn’t recruit him hard enough,” he said. “They got who they got in (Jim Mora’s hire) and that changed. Jim Mora made all the right moves bringing in top recruits. It just seemed like it was all coming together.”
Ed said Lupoi’s departure wasn’t ultimately what prompted McCarthy to decommit.
“In light of wat happened it was the best decision for Ellis,” Ed said. “It’s not about where people want him to go. It’s where his family felt most comfortable.
“It was too much of a coincidence that you get Demetrice, a top recruiter in Adrian Klemm and you get (running backs coach) Steve Broussard there, too. Broussard is one of my friends. They all end up at UCLA, and it was like the signs were all over the plate. The ultimate sign came at the last minute.”
Rumors swirled about Lupoi leaving for Washington. Lupoi met with the McCarthys on Sunday and, according to Ed, when he was asked about him leaving Lupoi was adament about staying at Cal.
“He sat at our hous and said, ‘I’m not going anywhere,’” Ed said. “There were articles everywhere that he was leaving but he said he wasn’t going anywhere, and then he accepts the job (Monday).
“You can’t fault Tosh for leaving. It’s the nature of the business.”