Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2014 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 82 of 111

worked out great." Sykes isn't the only one excited about his decision. His family couldn't be happier for him, and they're pumped to see him play in person the next four years. "Knowing the history of football program at Notre Dame, I think it's a great opportunity for Nile," his father said. "Just the tradition there, the fan following, the relationships he'd build beyond football and just being known as a football player are all great things. "I've looked into the coaches backgrounds, and they seem capable. I know they had a real good year last year. Nile would fit in as far as their defense goes. For us as parents, the academics are great there and they have a top-notch business program. Those things are all great. Him being a football player there and him being a student there, we're excited about all that, not to mention it's close to home." Blue and Gold Illustrated caught up with Paul Szczesny, Sykes' trainer at Core 6 Athletes, and he went in depth FILM ANALYSIS Strengths Sykes is a complete football player … He displays good form when tackling and looks smooth when dropping into coverage … He has very good passrushing skills and could comfortably put his hand in the dirt at defensive end if necessary … He has a tremendous motor and plays to the whistle. Areas To Improve He played primarily defensive end in high school, and the transition to strictly playing linebacker will take some time … He's somewhat of a "tweener" and needs to add bulk to play inside linebacker or continue adding speed to play on the outside … While his aggressive nature is a bonus, it can still be an area for improvement … At times he runs himself out of plays by being too aggressive in his pursuit. — Tom Loy

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