Ohio State's Friday Night Lights football camp the evening of July 27th, 2012, was essentially a high school who's who of all-star-caliber juniors and seniors from all over the country.
While the names of some of those in attendance may resonate with familiarity to even the most casual of recruiting novices, there were plenty of lesser known, lesser-heralded prospects at the camp looking to get noticed, be-it by Ohio State, or perhaps another FBS program.
Nile Sykes, a LB/DE prospect from Oak Park, Illinois (River Forest HS), is one of those players that fall into the lesser-known, lesser-heralded category—or at least he was before FNL.
Although I personally believe he eventually will, thus far, Sykes has not yet received the star ratings and hype that some of his fellow recruits in the class of 2014 have from Rivals, Scout, and ESPN.
I can tell you that it's not do to a lack of size or speed. Sykes is 6-2, 220, and during FNL, the players were divided up by position. Sykes was put with the defensive ends, and when each group ran the 40-yard-dash near the end of the camp, Sykes was the fastest out of his group.
And it's not as if nobody has noticed Sykes. He currently holds offers from Northern Illinois, Toledo, Purdue, and Illinois, as well as rumored interest from Wisconsin, and likely safe to now throw Ohio State into that mix.
After seeing Sykes in action, I was very impressed by him. That continued after the camp, when I was fortunate enough to have the chance to speak with Nile.
HD: Nile, you were great at FNL. Did coach Meyer, and/or any of the other coaches talk with you after the camp?
Nile: Thank you so much. Yes I talked to both coach Vrabel and coach Meyer afterwards and they had nothing but awesome things to say about me.
HD: As of right now, do you have an OSU offer?
Nile: No, I don't have an offer from them (yet, haha) but hopefully after last nights performance, they see that I can play and really like me.
HD: How do you feel about Columbus and Ohio State after coming to FNL?
Nile: I love it up there in Columbus. Awesome community -- awesome education -- awesome football! Just everything there seems to be like perfect.
HD: So no offer yet, but do you have an idea of what to expect between you and Ohio State going forward?
Nile: I got coach Vrabel's info, so I'll will be in touch very soon so they can speak to my parents and stuff like that.
HD: Well, I'm pulling for you to get an offer from OSU soon. I think I speak for all Buckeye fans when I say you will look great in Scarlet and Gray! I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing you as a Buckeye! You blew up last night! Glad I was there to see.
Nile: Thank you so much. I appreciate all the support. It means a lot to me.
HD: Thanks for taking time to do this Nile. I'm confident that Ohio State fans are going to like you and like hearing what you had to say about the possibility of becoming a Buckeye.
Nile: No problem, my pleasure. Go Bucks!
He later Tweeted, "S/O to ALL Buckeye fans. Man, you guys great."
He also posted this image on his Twitter feed shortly after of himself with coach Meyer.
To me, Sykes sounds like a great kid who happens to be a talented football player that raised his stock in the eyes of the OSU coaching staff, and that if and when he receives a scholarship offer to play for the Buckeyes—and I hopefully assume I'm not putting words in his mouth here—he's all-but ready to commit to play for Ohio State.
Maybe that Ohio State offer never comes, or maybe it does, but Sykes still ends up playing elsewhere.
I hope the offer from OSU does come, and that he jumps all over it, but either way, I think everyone took notice of him at FNL. At this point, you've probably not seen him play unless you were at FNL, so watch this brief highlight video (or this much better full-length one) and I think you'll start to see what I'm already seeing.
I know wherever he plays (cough, coach Meyer, offer him please, cough), I enjoyed getting to chat with him and featuring him in this article.