It was a rough day on the defensive side of the ball for Notre Dame on Wednesday. Not only did the Irish lose out on prized, 5-star recruits Jashon Cornell and Justin Hilliard to their neighbors to the east, Ohio State; but they also have reportedly lost incoming freshman Nile Sykes to a transfer according to multiple reports.
The day started off with a double whammy for Notre Dame when both Hilliard and Cornell committed to Ohio State on a ESPN live webcast. Notre Dame had not been considered the favorite for either prospect, but there was still some faint hope that the Irish could pull off an upset with Hilliard after multiple recent trips from the Ohio native.
While the loss of both recruits stung a little, the news was also somewhat expected. News of Nile Sykes potentially transferring on the other hand was not expected, but multiple news outlets are reporting that the Chicago area native will play elsewhere this fall despite still being enrolled at Notre Dame.
Notre Dame still has plenty of prospects left at linebacker in this class even if they don’t carry quite the rankings as Hilliard or Cornell. Tevon Coney recently visited for the Irish Invasion and left with Notre Dame right at the top of his list. In-state linebacker Asmar Bilal, regarded by some as a 4-star recruit, also has Notre Dame among his favorites after a recent visit. Porter Gustin and John Houston are two other names to keep an eye on at linebacker as the Irish move on at the position.
With Sykes looking to transfer, look for Notre Dame to attempt to add at least two more backers to this year’s class to go along with Josh Barajas. Sykes was part of a big group of incoming front seven players that Notre Dame hauled in with the class of 2014. Sykes was seen as a diamond int he rough type recruit for Notre Dame this year after the Illinois native played mainly defensive end at the high school level.
Sykes would have given the Notre Dame linebacking corps versatility with the ability to play on the inside or the outside depending on what defensive look Notre Dame was in. While Sykes was not expected to be a major contributor as a freshman, he figured to be one of the more intriguing players to watch develop given his lack of experience at the linebacker position.
As of Wednesday night, neither Notre Dame nor anyone directly connected to Sykes has had any official comment other than the freshman linebacker himself tweeting out that he was still currently a Notre Dame student shortly after the news broke.