Coach Brian Kelly received his 21st verbal commitment for the 2014 class today from Nile Sykes (Lombard, IL - Montini Catholic). He is listed at 6'2"/223 lbs.
Sykes visited over the weekend for the "Echoes" Awards Show/Banquet. Sykes reported over a dozen scholarship offers and selected the Irish over Missouri and Syracuse. He also held offers from Purdue, Illinois and Cincinnati among others.
Recruiting Service Rankings:
ESPN - 4 star (#29 OLB, #15 IL), 80 Grade
Rivals- 3 star, (#18 ILB, #18 IL), 5.9 Grade
Scout- 3 star (#56 OLB)
247Sports - 3 star (#34 OLB, #13 IL), 89 Grade
247Sports Composite Score - 3 star (0.8722, #459 Overall (#34 OLB, #17 IL)
Nile Sykes vs Sycamore (via Beth Long)
Nile Sykes 2014 OLB (Oak Park, IL) jr highlights (via 247SportsStudio)
Given the depth issues at inside linebacker, Sykes will have the opportunity to contribute right away. Whether or not he can break into the two deep will depend largely on how he performs over the summer during workouts and in camp. Regardless, he could find a spot on special teams. He works out at Core 6 Athletes in the Chicago area with high profile linebacker prospects Clifton Garrett and Niles Morgan-and held his own during workouts.
Sykes is a natural linebacker and will fit in nicely to the current scheme for the Irish. Prior to his senior season, he played primarily defensive end (at a different high school)-something that likely hampered his recruitment. His highlights show great instincts and the ability to play both the run and pass. He is a sure tackler, especially in space. He likely ends up at the WILL linebacker spot in the 3-4, but will have to add some weight in order to take on interior linemen on a regular basis.
Overall, he is great addition to the recruiting class and should develop into a mainstay at inside linebacker for multiple years.
Welcome to Notre Dame Nile!