OPRF DE Sykes transfers to Montini
Junior defensive end Nile Sykes, who has offers from Illinois, Purdue, NIU and Toledo, has transferred from Oak Park-River Forest and is now enrolled at Montini. | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 14, 2013 3:46PM
LOMBARD — Division I football prospect Nile Sykes has left Oak Park-River Forest and has transferred to Montini.
“(Thursday) is my first day of being a Bronco,” Sykes told Pioneer Press Wednesday night.
Sykes, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior defensive end, moved with his family from Oak Park to Aurora and is expected to be eligible to play at Montini next fall.
Sykes said the move was planned for a few months, but OPRF coach John Hoerster did not hear about the transfer until a few days ago. FOX Sports Next recruiting analyst Beth Long broke the news via Twitter.
“I just found out about it,” Hoerster said. “We’ll be fine. We’ve got plenty of guys. We played most of the season without him because he was injured. We’ve got guys that have bought into the program.”
Sykes missed the first five games of the 2012 season when he broke his right foot in the intrasquad scrimmage just one week before the season opener.
OPRF went 7-4 in 2012 and lost to Waubonsie Valley 28-7 in the second round of the Class 8A playoffs.
Sykes has scholarship offers from Illinois, Purdue, Northern Illinois and Toledo and has recently received interest from Arizona State, Northwestern and Iowa.
On Jan. 26, Sykes will travel to Indiana on a recruiting trip to see a men’s basketball game on campus.
While considering the move to Aurora, Sykes said his father, Noah, suggested that he choose a new school. Fenwick and Aurora Christian were other possible destinations.
By changing his residence, Sykes is likely to become eligible to play next fall while transferring from a public school to a non-boundary school, per IHSA regulations.
“It was a tough decision (to transfer),” Sykes said. “We thought about what’s best for me and for my family.”
Sykes will re-unite with one of his best friends, Semie Cobbs, a former OPRF student who transferred to Montini a year earlier. Cobbs was ineligible to play football in the fall, but is currently on the Broncos basketball team.
Montini’s football team won its fourth consecutive state championship with a 19-6 victory over Morris in the Class 5A final in Champaign in November. Montini coach Chris Andriano did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday night.
Sykes grew up in Maywood and said some of his friends from Maywood and Bellwood currently attend Montini. He also cited religious and academic reasons for transferring to Montini.
“I know people at Montini,” Sykes said. “Academically, they can help me. I can succeed and do well there. My family would like me to build on my religion.”
Sykes has been preparing for his first day of school Thursday with Director of Admissions Michael Bukovsky, who also serves as defensive coordinator for the football team.
“I’ve gone through the process,” Sykes said. “He told me about the program. It helps that I know some other players and students from (football) camps.”