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Thursday, January 24, 2013
Programs noticing 2014's Sykes at OLB

By Jared Shanker

WESTMONT, Ill. -- Nile Sykes (Lombard, Ill./Montini Catholic) went to the Core 6 Showcase with a purpose. He was going to show everyone in attendance he’s an outside linebacker. And not just a linebacker who is essentially a defensive end with his hand up. Sykes wants to be viewed as an outside linebacker who can do it all.

“I woke up with a mindset to come out and show everybody what I had, and I think I did just that,” Sykes said.

By the end of the event, Sykes was holding up hardware. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound junior was the defensive MVP.

“Right now people are thinking of me more of a defensive end who can play linebacker, but I want people to think of me now as a linebacker primarily who can also play defensive end,” he said. “I know I have the size and everything a linebacker will need.”

Ohio State has been interested in Sykes since the summer, and the Buckeyes' Chicago-area recruiter Mike Vrabel has made frequent stops to see Sykes, who was previously at Oak Park-River Forest. The two talked about where Sykes best projects in college, and Sykes gleamed when he heard Vrabel’s thoughts.

“I asked him what position he thought I fit, and he said Sam [strongside] linebacker,” Sykes said.

Vrabel wants to get Sykes back on campus in Columbus. Sykes has already visited Ohio State a few times but will likely go back in the coming months.

Four offers are already in for Sykes, but the Buckeyes are still evaluating.

“As far as an offer,” Sykes said, “I got to prove to them I can play that position first.”

This coming weekend Sykes will be at Illinois and Indiana for junior day visits. He is no stranger to Champaign, but it will be his first time seeing the Hoosiers.

“I want to meet the coaches and see some of the facilities,” he said. “I know we’re gonna watch a basketball game. I know it’s going to be a good time. I want to meet the coaches and learn more about Indiana.”

Northern Illinois, Purdue and Toledo have also offered Sykes, who has recently picked up interest from Arizona State and Vanderbilt.