Is Notre Dame’s Anthony Sayles the area’s next two-sport superstar?

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Notre Dame’s Anthony Sayles (7) rolls out for a pass against Marist. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Even though Anthony Sayles is just a sophomore he’s been compared to Chicago preps legend and former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb.

McNabb played football and basketball at Mount Carmel and Syracuse. Sayles, who is Notre Dame’s starting quarterback and point guard, patterns his game after two other dual threat quarterbacks.

“I like the comparison,” Sayles said. “My teammates try compare me to a Mike Vick or a Lamar Jackson. I’ve never heard the McNabb comparison.”

Sayles, 6-2, 170-pounds, has terrific time management skills.

“I try to balance my time equally,” Sayles said. “When I make priorities, it’s football during football season. I bounce back in between. When I’m in another sport, that’s the priority during that season. We played a tough team last week. We’re bouncing back to play another tough team this week.”

Before all of that, Sayles had to win over a veteran group as a young player short on experience. Thus far, he’s gotten a senior-led group to believe that he belongs.

“I’m getting a lot of help from the older guys,” Sayles said. “Especially the quarterbacks. When I was pulled up from the freshman team, they taught all they know. They told me to listen to coach and help the team as much as I can. It was tough at the start of the season.”

Sayles, an Evanston native, came onto the local hoops scene last season when he dropped 30 points in state playoff game.

Notre Dame’s Anthony Sayles (10) drives toward the basket.

Notre Dame’s Anthony Sayles (10) drives toward the basket. Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Notre Dame football coach Mike Hennesseysays that Sayles has succeeded in getting the seniors to buy into him being the leader of the huddle. The Dons had a senior and junior quarterback who had a great summer, too.

But Sayles seemed to be the best fit for what Notre Dame wants to do with its spread offense.

“He’s quality young man and highly coachable,” Hennesseysaid. “He’s highly competitive. I think that’s the key to what’s starting to show. Even as a sophomore he has an ability to be a great teammate and leader. He’s taken charge of what we’re doing in our huddle. You can’t ask for more than that.”

Hennesseysays that Sayles’ poise shows when he juggles multiple commitments on and off the field.

“We’ve talked about how he should budget his time,” Hennesseysaid. “It’s all good. If he’s competing there, that means he’ll compete here, which will make him a better player. When we get our time with him, we’ll make the most of it. When it’s time for basketball, he’ll make the most of it.”

Sayles would love to play football and basketball in college. However, that’s something he will think about when the time comes. He would rather focus on the now.

“I’ll make that tough decision when it comes,” Sayles said. “I’d love to play both sports in college, but there might be a time when I have to choose. I’ll make that decision sometimes down the road.”

Notre Dame’s next game is Friday against Benet.

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