The News-Sentinel sports staff will feature a different verbally committed player for the four NCAA Division I football programs (Ball State, Indiana, Notre Dame and Purdue) in Indiana leading up to National Signing Day on Feb. 5.
Here is today's Notre Dame featured commit:
Position: Inside linebacker
High School: Montini High School in Lombard, Illinois
Weight: 219 pounds
Commitment date: December 15, 2013
Other scholarship offers: 12, including Cincinnati, Illinois, Missouri, South Florida and Syracuse.
Ranking: Rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, the No. 18 player in the state of Illinois and the No. 20 inside linebacker in the country; rated a three-star recruit by Scout.com and the No. 49 outside linebacker in the country.
Notre Dame depth chart at position: Outside linebacker: Senior Ishaq Williams, Junior Romeo Okwara, Junior Anthony Rabasa, sophomore Jaylon Smith, junior Ben Councell; Inside linebacker: Junior Jarrett Grace, fifth-year senior Kendall Moore, sophomore Doug Randolph, junior Joe Schmidt, sophomore Michael Deeb.
Scouting report: Sykes may not make eyes light up when looking at him compared to other players in this recruiting class, but he is a versatile player that can line up in multiple positions defensively, something Coach Brian Kelly covets on the recruiting circuit. Sykes played a lot of outside in high school, but he does not have the size to do so consistently at the college level. He is an aggressive player that fires off the ball, something that will be a big asset when he lines up at inside linebacker, his projected position with the Fighting Irish. This is a long-term prospect in the fact that his position for Notre Dame will not be one he is used to playing, so physically and mentally it will likely take a year or two for Sykes to round into form. Even so, this is a player with talent that will be molded by the Notre Dame coaching staff.