Michigan State was the first college to host Nile Sykes (Oak Park, Ill./River Forest) for a game as a recruit, and he described the experience and visit as “perfect.”
“It was really fun, and the atmosphere was great. I got to talk to some of the players before the game and walk around the sidelines,” the defensive end said. “Since they lost they didn’t want to let anyone in the locker room, so I didn’t get to speak to any coaches. That was a bummer, but everything else was perfect.”
One of the biggest surprises for Sykes was an opportunity to talk with some former Michigan State greats as well. Among them was Plaxico Burress, a first-round pick out of Michigan State in 2000. Sykes said Burress was reluctant to talk at first, but Sykes did not give up on trying to get the former Super Bowl champion to open up. Eventually he did, and Burress gave his own recruiting pitch on behalf of Michigan State.
“Just about how great of a community we would all be in if we would end up going there, how many connections you have and if we were to go there after we would leave we would know so many people and how they’re all just one big family and a lot of people come back for games,” Sykes said of the conversation.
The visit to Michigan State has Sykes excited about making it to other games now. He will visit Illinois on Sept. 29 for the Penn State game, Ohio State for the Michigan game in November and wants to visit Wisconsin soon. He will also be at Soldier Field in Chicago when Miami (Fla.) travels north to face Notre Dame.
Although Sykes was on his visit to Michigan State, he came away more impressed with Notre Dame. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound lineman liked what he saw from the Notre Dame defensive line, which dominated the game.
“Their defensive line was really impressive, really getting after it,” Sykes said. “I liked their schemes. They really get off the ball and get into those offensive linemen. They were able to get the pressure needed on the quarterback at all times.
“And (Manti) Te’o, the linebacker, he flies around, he’s real impressive, and that’s who I want to be like, want to be that playmaker who flies around the field.”