"Good to be back in it"

Despite a 2-2 record to start the season, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite linebacker Chris Galippo is enjoying every bit of it.

"It's been a ton of fun," said Galippo. "It's good to be back in it."

The nation's top-ranked linebacker and commit to USC has been active through the first four games and with teammate D.J. Shoemate out for the year, Galippo has been doing his part to carry the defense, which hasn't been unusual for him.

"It puts a little more pressure on me, but nothing too big," said Galippo. "We've got a lot of solid players and we're improving."

The Friars lost their first game of the year, 23-9 to Corona (Calif.) Santiago then dropped a 28-13 decision to Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison in week three, and Galippo thinks it may have been a blessing for them.

"Our two losses were definitely good things," said Galippo. "We probably came in a little too high on ourselves but the great thing is with these five games before we start league, it prepares you for the season. We could go 0-5 and go undefeated in league and win CIF and those losses wouldn't affect a thing. We've been using them as building games, as learning games, and while we didn't want the two losses, it's preparing us. We're playing some solid football."

The contest against Edison allowed Galippo to go up against his future Trojan teammate, offensive tackle Martin Coleman.

"I went up against Martin Coleman and he is extremely athletic, but really raw, which is a good thing because he has a strong foundation," said Galippo. "He is a great run blocker and he will learn a lot throughout the season and a ton at USC. He's got a chance to be a real special player. Edison, being a public school, is very respectful and they have some tough guys. It was a tough game for us, but it will help us once league starts."

Servite hasn't played a light schedule, with the Santiago and Edison games standing out. This week, the Friars will take on San Diego (Calif.) St. Augustine, the defending CIF-San Diego Section Div. III champions and their quarterback Chris Forcier, headed for UCLA and four more years of games against Galippo.

"It's a big game, but I don't look at it any bigger because it is on TV or because of their quarterback," said Galippo. "We want to use this for our league. It's a San Diego team, and this will prepare us. In our league alone, every game is a dogfight with Orange Lutheran, Mater Dei, Santa Margarita and St. John Bosco. The different competition levels we play help us. We've played a big Inland Empire team, a top five Orange County team and now a San Diego team."

Next week, Galippo will get a chance to match up with two more future Trojan teammates, offensive lineman Mike Reardon and quarterback Aaron Corp when the Friars take on Orange Lutheran.

"That should be a blast," said Galippo, who laughed but didn't comment when asked what he would do if he had a wide open lane on Corp.

Though he committed to USC on Signing Day, Galippo said schools haven't let up in recruiting him.

"Arizona State came by (on Monday), wondering what's up," said Galippo. "They know I'm a solid commit, but every school wants to be that 1A. UCLA has been on me, Notre Dame and Cal have both shot me an email. It hasn't died down."

But Galippo said it will be fruitless for the other schools to keep recruiting him.

"I'm really solid a commit as it gets," said Galippo. "I don't think I'm going to take a trip anywhere. I don't see why I would. Not that its not worth it or that trips are overrated, but I'm so solid to USC it wouldn't make sense."

This Saturday will let Galippo see the Trojans in person for the first time this year, since their home opener against Nebraska conflicted with Servite's game against Diamond Ranch.

"I'll be at the game on Saturday, and it's my first one," said Galippo. "We had back-to-back Saturday games, and I couldn't make it to the Nebraska one, so I'm really looking forward to the game. I've talked to Marc (Tyler) about being there. They've played really well, especially on defense this year."

Galippo said he hasn't set up his official visit with USC, but anticipates taking it their big recruiting weekend, which falls on November 25th when they host Notre Dame.

"I'm going to try and get down there when Marc and Everson (Griffen) are going down there," said Galippo. "The big weekend seems to be Notre Dame week, so when I go there this weekend, I'm going to probably get that scheduled."

Being ranked as the nation's premier linebacker has been something he's been honored by, but he never particularly set out to achieve that.

"I set goals for myself them moment I walked onto the campus at Servite," said Galippo. "From the day I was in the weight room first to when I was going to start on varsity as a sophomore, I had my personal goals. I figured, why hold back. If you play hard, and hit hard, all the accolades will come. It's not something I expected, but I'm absolutely honored to be thought of like that."

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