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December 15, 2013
Irish strike with Sykes
Nile Sykes earned a scholarship offer from Notre Dame with a strong senior season.
Notre Dame earned a commitment from the three-star inside linebacker on Sunday with a strong recruiting effort across the board.
Despite lacking a defensive coordinator, linebackers coach or regional recruiter, the Irish scored a verbal pledge from the 6-foot-1, 209-pound athlete from Lombard, Ill., during his official visit.
"It feels awesome," Sykes told Irish Illustrated via text. "Lot of weight off my shoulders."
The Montini standout becomes Notre Dame's 20th commitment and second true inside linebacker following Greer Martini, who committed almost 18 months ago.
Notre Dame was the clear leader for Sykes after former offensive coordinator Chuck Martin offered a scholarship in mid-November. Sykes went on record that he'd visit South Bend as soon as possible after his senior season. That turned into a trip this weekend for the program's annual awards show.
Sykes was joined on the official visit list by on-the-market targets in three-star linebacker Kolin Hill and three-star receiver Charles Nelson.
Despite Martin's departure for Miami or Ohio and Bob Diaco's promotion to head coach at Connecticut, Sykes was not swayed away from Notre Dame's pole position.
He took an official visit to Syracuse last weekend, which turned into a point of comparison for Notre Dame. In the end, there wasn't much of one.
"I've got a really good feeling of how I think an official visit should go just by how Syracuse treated me and how much love they showed," Sykes told Irish Illustrated last week. "I'm gonna compare that to Notre Dame, see how they treat me as a person, not just a football player. I'm gonna compare the two and if I feel like I need to take more visits to other places I'll do that. If not, and I think I know where I wanna go, then I'll make the decision."
Notre Dame leaned on safeties coach Bob Elliott to help Sykes feel comfortable after the linebacker's lead recruiter and position coach left the program since the Irish offer came down.
"(Elliott) said since coach Martin left that they all decided they would start pitching in on my recruitment," Sykes said. "So, all of them have been talking to me and coach Elliott. Another one of the linebacker assistants, I'm blanking on his name right now. They've all been talking to me and they keep telling me they can't wait to get me up this weekend. They said they know I'll like it. I've only heard great things about Notre Dame. I'm just looking forward to get up there and see it for myself."
Sykes finally did this week.
He'll be seeing plenty more of Notre Dame moving forward.