Lombard (Ill.) Montini Catholic linebacker Nile Sykes committed to Notre Dame during his official visit to South Bend, Tom Loy of Blue and Gold Illustrated first reported on Sunday.
“It’s just an amazing opportunity to play at a school like Notre Dame,” Sykes told 247Sports prior to his visit.
“Just to graduate from Notre Dame, I’d be set with that degree. I would pretty much walk out of there with a job. Not only would those coaches help me become a better football player they’d help me be a better person and they’d help me so much in life. I’d have so many connections leaving Notre Dame. It’s an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Sykes did pass on opportunities from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Missouri, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Purdue and South Florida among others. He had a terrific senior season in leading Montini Catholic to the state championship game..
“I’m really happy with my decision,” Sykes said. “I'm excited to be a part of the Irish and excited to start my career there."
Sykes’s family is pumped as well.
“Knowing the history of football program at Notre Dame, I think it’s a great opportunity for Nile,” his father said. “Just the tradition there, the fan following, the relationships he’d build beyond football just being known as a football player are all great things.
“I’ve looked into the coaches backgrounds and they seem capable,” the elder Sykes continued. “I know they had a real good year last year. Nile would fit in as far as their defense goes. For us as parents the academics are great there and they have a top-notch business program. Those things are all great. Him being a football player there and him being a student there, we’re excited about all that not to mention it’s close to home.”
Sykes is ranked by 247Sports as the nation’s No. 34 outside linebacker, however Notre Dame is recruiting him as an inside linebacker. Sykes becomes commit No. 20 for the Irish in the class-of-2014.
“They’re getting a versatile player,” Sykes trainer at Core 6 Athletes Paul Szczesny said. “His ability to play with his hand down or up will give him an opportunity to play at Notre Dame. I’ve always believed, and Nile has been in our program for the past few years and he’s been competing against other great linebackers like Clifton Garrett and Nyles Morgan, and he’s always hung with them. There is not much difference between the three and Nile is going to have a great future on the next level.
“This season, it was his first opportunity to play linebacker for a full season. He’s grown and matured and based on his senior film, you see the ability to attack the ball carrier, or play on the edge and go after the quarterback. He has great hands too, and he’s always been great in coverage.”