BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The final day of The Opening is where the boys in the trenches really get to have some fun with the Lineman Challenge grabbing everybody's attention for most of the morning and afternoon on Sunday. One player eager to prove that he not only belongs but is one of the elite lineman out West is Bellflower (Calif.) offensive tackle Nico Falah. You won't find the reserved big man call out any opponent to go against but once they're lined up across from him, he's ready to handle whatever they throw at him.
"I don't really know," Falah said, when asked who he wanted to face. "They're all the best d-linemen in the country so I'll get the best out of everyone. It will be worth it later, going against the best will only help me get better."
The 6-foot-5, 275-pounder more than held his own while lineman were going through drills earlier on Saturday and the chance to go against top 100 defensive linemen in pads is one the tackle eagerly accepted. Looking to earn a spot in the top 100 based on his performance at The Opening, Falah is concentrating on taking care of business in Oregon before turning his attention to making an announcement regarding his recruitment.
"Wednesday, July 11th, after practice around six," he said. "I already know what school I want to go to, I just haven't announced it yet."
"With USC, it's SC football and all the tradition," Falah said. "I could be a great player there and play for a great coach. I love my potential there and I think I can be the best player I can be. At UCLA, the thing that is keeping them in it is the coaching staff. Coach (Adrian) Klemm and coach (Jim) Mora have been good to me and friends with me. Whenever I go there I enjoy myself."
One factor in favor of the Bruins is that Falah's dad went to school in Westwood and grew up raising his son as a UCLA fan. While the recruiting process has meant that all options are open, the father is still whispering in the son's ears about how great it would be if he wears the blue and gold.
"He's been like that a little bit," the offensive tackle said with a small chuckle. "But I'm the one making the decision, not him."
Because USC is strongly under consideration and Falah has yet to inform his parents of his choice quite yet, the St. John Bosco star has no clue how his father would take the news if he were to say he's going to be a Trojan next week.
"I don't know. I really don't know what his reaction would be," Falah said. "He supports me either way though. That's the thing about my parents, they support me. They don't just tell me to go here or here."
But we're guessing they would be a tad happier if he winds up at UCLA instead of USC.