The Notre Dame football banquet, once one of the most fruitful recruiting weekends annually, was productive again for the Irish this year with inside linebacker Nile Sykes committing to Notre Dame. Sykes made his commitment known over Twitter.
Nile Sykes, a 6’1″, 220 lbs linebacker out of the Chicago area, gives Notre Dame its second inside linebacker commitment in the #GoldenArmy14 joining Greer Martini – Notre Dame’s first commitment to this year’s class. Notre Dame only recently offered Sykes a scholarship in mid-November and since then had skyrocketed to the top of his list.
Sykes was on campus this weekend for his official visit with a number of other current commitments and that trip was all it took for Sykes to pull the trigger and end his recruitment with his pledge to Notre Dame. Sykes committed even though the Irish are still in search of a defensive coordinator following Bob Diaco’s departure for the head coaching position at UConn.
In addition to Sykes seeing his future position coach and defensive coordinator leave the program this week, his main recruiter was Chuck Martin – Notre Dame’s former offensive coordinator who is now running the football program for Miami of Ohio. Even with both Martin and Diaco now calling the shots at their own programs, Sykes was not hesitant to commit to Notre Dame this weekend.
Most recruiting services rate Sykes as a 3-star prospect but his senior year production suggest that he could be one of the more under rated prospects in this year’s class. The Chicago Tribune named Nile Sykes to their First Team All-State team on Sunday after he recorded 22 tackles for loss and 12 sacks as a senior. Sykes also ran the ball for three touchdowns on the offensive side of the ball in 2013.
Sykes’s recruiting rankings are a bit influenced by the fact that he played a bit out of position last year as a defensive end before moving to inside linebacker this year. With that lack of experience at the position, Sykes will need some time in the system to learn the nuances of the position, but his time as a defensive end should prove to be valuable for him when it comes to fighting off blocks and taking on guards.
Prior to committing to Notre Dame, Sykes had picked up scholarship offers from Syracuse, Cincinnati, Missouri, Purdue, and Illinois.
Notre Dame is going to be short on depth at inside backer next year with both Carlo Calabrese and Dan Fox exhausting their eligibility this year. Jarret Grace will be back from injury next year but will be the only inside backer on the roster with starting experience. With that lack of depth, look for Notre Dame to continue to push hard to get fellow Chicagoland insider linebacker Nyles Morgan to join Sykes as a member of the #GoldenArmy14.
With Sykes’s commitment, Notre Dame jumped up to 6th overall in Rivals.com’s team recruiting rankings.