Bruins In the Mix for Faigame Lopa

Sacramento (Calif.) Grant defensive end Faigame Lopa has UCLA in his top six schools but the rest of his visits will have to wait...

Sacramento (Calif.) Grant defensive end Faigame Lopa has been one of the unsung heroes of the Pacers' defense in a 2010 season that has them undefeated and poised for a return to Carson for the CIF State Championship in two weeks.

But first things for Lopa, known as "Puka", as his Pacer team faces a Folsom team they trounced in the opener in the CIF-SacJoaquin title game on Friday night. A win there assures the Pacers of a visit to the Home Depot Center for, at worst, a D-II title spot, but a De La Salle loss could put Grant in the Open Division finals, which they won in 2008.

Because of the season-long focus on Grant, Lopa hasn't been able to take many visits- his lone trip has been to Arizona State, during Grant's bye week.

"It's been hard because we've been playing, but I'll take them after the season is over," said Lopa. "We don't ever want the feeling we had last year (when they were upset in the CIF semis by Rocklin) so our focus has been on the season."

When the season concludes, Lopa will take his remaining four trips, and with six schools still in the mix, one won't get an official trip.

"Cal is about to offer me, UCLA just offered me, and then Oregon State, Arizona State, Fresno State and Washington State are the other schools I'm looking at," said Lopa.

This weekend, Lopa will visit Fresno State unofficially with teammate Darryl Paulo for their season finale with Illinois, and he may make a return official to Fresno later.

"Me and Darryl are going down there on Saturday for their game," said Lopa.

Lopa said his top six schools were Arizona State, Fresno State, Oregon State, Cal, UCLA and Washington State, but he wasn't sure which one would get left out for an official visit.

"I honestly don't know which one I won't visit," said Lopa. "I may not visit Fresno or Cal because I've been there so many teams. But I know I want to visit UCLA and Oregon State."

Lopa has had a big season, lining up next to elite defensive tackle Viliami Moala.

"I've got over 100 tackles and 19 sacks," said Lopa. "I'm close to the career sack record."

Lopa is also getting it done in the classroom, with a 3.2 GPA and a qualifying score on the SAT.


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