Irish Among Leaders For Junior Linebacker

Junior Chris Galippo and his Servite high school (Anaheim Calif.) teammates just finished a very successful season as they won the 2005 Serra League Championship. Galippo, the Serra League defensive MVP, will be one of the top linebackers in the 2007 recruiting class, and he already has the Irish among his early favorites.

On February 1 the Irish will sign linebackers Toryan Smith and Morrice Richardson to their 2006 recruiting class, but the Irish staff would certainly like to add at least two premier linebackers to the 2007 Irish class. Get used to hearing the name Chris Galippo because he's real good and Notre Dame is going to make him one of their top targets next year.

"I would say big time," Galippo replied when asked if the Irish had a chance to pull him from California. "Notre Dame is Notre Dame. It has the reputation of excellence, so does my school. Servite is an all-boys Catholic school, and we send a lot of our guys to Notre Dame. It's (Notre Dame) definitely a big school, definitely a school that catches my eye."

"I was more than honored when coach Polian came to school," Galippo said of the Notre Dame assistant's visit. "It was one of the highlights of my entire season. I'm definitely looking forward to being recruited by them and I'm definitely going to give them a shot.

"I've been told by a lot of people to be careful when I take my recruiting trip (to Notre Dame) because I might not want to leave the place. I've heard it's just an amazing campus – breathtaking."

Servite head coach Troy Thomas described Galippo as ‘the real deal' and a player that hasn't even reached his potential as a junior in high school.

"I'm definitely a very physical player," Galippo said of his playing style. "I have the ability to go sideline to sideline and make plays anywhere on the field. I play with emotion and I can get caught up in it sometimes. As far as my nature on the field, I'm definitely a very physical player, but I'm calm and collected.

"I read my keys….that's something coach Thomas really focuses on. He wants me to read my linemen and guards," Galippo said of the aspect of the game that his coach stresses. "Our team rules are, No.1: love your teammate, but No.2: is do your job. That is one of the things he continually reiterated to our team is to focus on your job and don't try to do anyone else's.

"When I was the kid in junior or Pop Warner football I had to make all the plays, because not all the teams have playmakers. When I got to high school I tried to do that, because that was the only way I knew how to play. It put me out of position to make plays that I was supposed to because I was trying to make plays where other guys were playing. I think that's the biggest area that I've matured, staying where I'm supposed to on the field and doing my job."

Next season Galippo's job will be to help coach Thomas win Servite's first CIF football championship since 1983. That year Servite was led by former Notre Dame quarterback Steve Beuerlein.

"I love watching Notre Dame play," Galippo said of the Charlie Weis led Irish. "They remind me a lot of my high school. We say that the most physical, the most disciplined teams are going to win the ball game. In terms of discipline, they just bring such a presence onto the football field. They remind me so much of my high school.

"They show up and I don't think they were intimidated by USC the way they played. They play with reckless abandon and no fear. They were definitely the toughest, most physical team that USC played."

"Not too much," Chris answered when asked what he knew about Notre Dame's head coach Charlie Weis. "He does a great job at Notre Dame. I know he was offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. That's definitely a very attractive. One of my goals in life is to play in the NFL.

"I'm very good family friends with Ryan Kalil (USC starting center), he told me after the Notre Dame game how coach Weis visited their locker room and took his hat off to them. I thought that was really impressive and that really stands out in my mind. Even after a defeat that he could do that."

Notre Dame has spoken to coach Thomas on several occasions about Galippo, but so have a lot of college recruiters from around the country. The question will be if the Irish will be able to convince this Southern California star to make his way to the Midwest.

"I'd definitely say that they're up there," Galippo said of his interest in playing for Notre Dame. "My top three schools are probably Notre Dame, USC and ULCA.

"As far as USC, I've gone to a few of their games, this last year and as a sophomore. Just having the No.1 team in your backyard just speaks for itself. Them being No.1 is a big thing but it really isn't. One of the big things that I've thought of is that I'd much rather build my own dynasty than to jump on a dynasty.

"Boston College has really shown me a lot of interest," he continued. "They were one of the first schools to come and see me. They actually came by my school today. I really like Boston College. I think they run a tough program over there…as any school in the PAC-10. I'm just really wide open to things right now. I'm really open to everybody."

"I haven't really sat down and thought about it in depth, as far as the situations with schools. One of the biggest concerns that I have is the depth chart at the schools. I want to play college football and I don't want to sit on the bench. I want to help a team, and where I'm going to help a team is on the field. There are so many factors that have to be right. I haven't even sat down and thought about it all. I'm just really excited about finding out more about these schools As far as Notre Dame and USC and UCLA those are schools that really just catch my eye, but I'm really open to everybody.


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories