This season could be a big one for Oak Park-River Forest defensive end Nile Sykes.
College recruiters don’t go out to watch prospects in person as much anymore, but Sykes’ stock is bullish right now and he could send recruiters rushing to their computers to check out video on the rising star after this season.
Sykes, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior, already has four college offers, according to coach John Hoerster and could add several more with a solid showing.
The Huskies, who won only three games last season in Hoerster’s first year, play two teams (Proviso East and Downers Grove North) in their first three games that owned losing records a year ago. But then OPRF faces four consecutive West Suburban Silver teams that went to the playoffs last season.
Sykes is OPRF’s best player on the defensive side of the ball. He has scholarship offers from Illinois, Purdue, Northern Illinois and Toledo.
“He’s very impressive; an exceptional player,” Hoerster said. “He has plenty of room to grow. He has potential to put on a good amount of weight.”
Hoerster said Sykes started out later than many other players in developing a disciplined routine in the weight room.
“He will only get better,” Hoerster said. “He has tremendous speed and burst. He’s extremely explosive.”
Offenses will be geared to stop Sykes rushing from the outside, so Hoerster promises to move around Sykes in different situations.
If Sykes can’t get free, Hoerster hopes Andre Lee will pick up the slack as the other defensive end. The 6-0, 200-pound Lee, another junior, actually had more tackles than Sykes last season.
“We are really balanced on our defense,” Hoerster said. “It will be nice to have him opposite Nile in case people run away from Nile.”