It's Rutgers for Arcidiacono

Posted: June 22, 2012

One suspects Brandon would get the best of Mark in an arm-wrestling contest between the two oldest, football-playing brothers in the Arcidiacono family.

After all, Brandon did the best job of arm-twisting.

A news conference was held Thursday in a sauna disguised as a gymnasium at Archbishop Wood High and the agenda called for Nick Arcidiacono, a 6-4, 236-pound rising senior, likewise a football star, to announce his college decision.

Rutgers beat Penn State. Meaning, Brandon beat Mark.

Though all kinds of immediate and semi-detached family members (along with roughly 15 current/recent Vikings; Rutgers-bound rushing star Desmon People among 'em) were in attendance, Mark was not on hand. Don't mistakenly guess he was mad. He's out at Penn State, preparing for his redshirt-junior season at guard.

Brandon? He'll be a freshman center at Rutgers after last fall combining with Nick and others to help Wood win the PIAA Class AAA state championship.

When the notion that Brandon could probably beat Mark in arm-wrestling was repeated to Nick, he smiled and said, "I would take them both."

Hmm. When that comment was relayed to Brandon, he quipped , "What?! If he wasn't getting interviewed right now, I'd go tackle him."

Mark played his scholastic football at St. Joseph's Prep and Steve Devlin, now Wood's coach, was an assistant there through Mark's sophomore season in 2006.

He's preparing for his sixth Wood campaign and knows the "Arches" inside and out. The next two boys in line, Matt and Brian, rising eighth- and seventh-graders, respectively, sometimes serve as ballboys and are always around in some fashion.

Mom and dad are Mary and Mark; he played football at Temple. The other kids not yet mentioned are Gavin (second oldest, played football at Wood, just finished sophomore year at Penn State Altoona), Jane Mary (budding athlete at Wood) and Bridget, Brian's twin.

"It's a great family with super kids," Devlin said. "The guys do everything that's asked of them, and more, and that's a great quality to have. They're natural leaders. The younger players see how they do things and follow right along.

"They try to outdo each other in the family. When one gets a scholarship, all the rest of them are saying, 'I'm gonna do that, too.' "

Nick, who's slated to play tight end and defensive end/outside linebacker this fall, said Penn State indicated a strong interest, but had not yet cleared a scholarship in his specific area. Rutgers, meanwhile, was in full, get-him-now mode.

"Rutgers is the place for me," Nick said. "I couldn't give up the opportunity to keep playing with my brother. I wanted to get this over, so I can focus on bringing another championship back here."

In a side conversation, he added, "Brandon has been an inspiration to me. I've been playing on teams with him since the first grade. It's going to keep being fun."

Said Brandon: "Mark and I were both working on him. I guess I did my job a little better . . . It only takes about an hour to get to Rutgers. The coaches are all real cool. Nick came with me a few times and I could tell he liked everything about it."

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