PaliHi Football Guard Ari Sallus Helps Hold the Line

Palisades High School senior Ari Sallus has already received scholarship offers from six colleges: Columbia, Cornell, Brown, University of Idaho, University of San Diego and UC Davis.

The 6’4”, 285-pound offensive guard was All-Western League as a junior and continues to be one of the stalwarts who hold off the defense, allowing the offense to shine. The Dolphins have scored 156 points while defeating three straight opponents and losing to a fourth to begin the season. (28,48, 49 and 31.)

Sallus played rugby and wanted to try football as a freshman at Pali. But his mom, Dr. Devorah Cohen who practices family medicine in the Palisades, didn’t want him to play the sport. His father, Marc, a probate lawyer, successfully argued for Ari, and he stepped on the gridiron for the first time.

Ari Sallus

“I loved it,” Sallus said about his first year. Even as a freshman he was 6’3” and 200 pounds, and he knocked two players out cold during one game. “My teammates started calling me Nyquil,” he said.

Coaches considered moving him up to varsity, but since it was his first year, he stayed on JV—until the playoffs.

Sallus was asked if he’s still called by the cold-remedy nickname. “Some, but I prefer to be called by Ari,” he said.

His devotion to the sport includes working to be the first on the field for practice. In the weight room, “I try to outwork everyone,”said Sallus, who also works out at Velocity, a gym devoted to sports fitness.

A graduate of Marquez School and Paul Revere Middle School, he has a 4.5 GPA, while taking mostly honors and AP classes. This year his schedule includes AP Statistics, AP Government, honors English, honors marine biology and guitar.

Right now, his top choice might be UC Davis because they have one of the best veterinary schools in the country, a career he’d like to pursue.

And what does his mom think of the sport now? “She acknowledges that it’s taught me never to give up and to stay determined,” Sallus said.

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