- Brandon P. Oliver, Reporter, DuckNation
As one of the premier wide receiver recruits in the west for 2014, 6-foot-3, 200-pound Dionte Sykes (Chandler, Ariz./Chandler) is gaining more interest every day. The ESPN Watch List member has family connections to a number of schools and grew up following one in particular.
Sykes' father, Kelron, played linebacker at Oregon State in the late 1990s. His uncle, Jashon, played at Colorado until 2002 and returned as the director of football operations after a brief professional career.
Oregon State and Colorado lead the way as two of Dionte Sykes' early offers. For now, Sykes is focused on improving as a player and maximizing his time in high school.
"I just transferred here this year, and I love it so far. We have great coaches and a great team," Sykes said. "Schools all say they like my size and my ability to catch the ball. They also like the fact that I can move for a big receiver. For now, I'm just trying to get better every day."
UCLA, a school Sykes grew up watching as he was raised in the Los Angeles area, also has offered the budding star.
"I have known some of the guys on the staff at UCLA since I was real young. A couple of them know my dad and my uncle. [Wide receivers] coach [Eric] Yarber has known me since I was young, and he is recruiting me pretty hard right now," Sykes said. "I always liked UCLA growing up, and I will definitely be considering them throughout the whole process."
Arizona State, Syracuse, Michigan, Oregon and Boise State also have been in touch with Sykes, who is expected to grow to be 6-foot-5.
"Oregon has been talking to me, and they invited me to come to their game against Washington on Oct. 6," Sykes said. "I have family in the northwest and family that went to Oregon. I know how big of a game it is when they play the Huskies. It should be a great game and a great atmosphere. I'm excited to get up there and check them out a little more closely."
Oregon wide receivers coach Scott Frost is leading the Ducks' recruiting efforts with Sykes.
"I haven't talked to him a lot so far but I think once I get up there and they get to see me in person, they will be a little more aggressive," Sykes said. "I know they like receivers that can block and don't mind doing so. I have the size, and I'll do anything I can to help my team win. If they wanted me to block as a receiver, that's what I'd do. They get the ball to everyone, so I know my time would come if I just did my job."
Sykes will be joined by his Chandler teammate, 2014 safety J.R. Hunt (Chandler, Ariz./Chandler) on the unofficial visit to Eugene.