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Hinsdale, IL - Friday, October 26, 2012: Oak Park's Nile Sykes (9) gets past Hinsdale Central's Brian Allen (65) and tackles Jack Adams (4). | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Division I football prospect Nile Sykes has left Oak Park-River Forest and transferred to Montini.
“(Thursday) is my first day of being a Bronco,” Sykes said.
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. FoxSports 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, 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 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.
Sykes has four 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. Hinsdale Central junior wide receiver-tight end Ian Bunting, who received an offer from Illinois Saturday, stated that he was also planning on making the same trip to Indiana later this month.
Both Sykes and Bunting belong to the Deerfield-based Core 6 football training program, which is run by former Indiana linebacker Paul Szczesny.
“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 last fall, but is currently on the Broncos basketball team.
Montini won its fourth consecutive state championship with a 19-6 victory over Morris in the Class 5A final in Champaign last season. Montini coach Chris Andriano could not be reached for a comment.
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.
While considering the move to Aurora, Sykes said his father, Noah, suggested that he choose a new school, including Fenwick or Aurora Christian as possible destinations.
“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. He told me about the program. It helps that I know some other players and students from (football) camps,” Sykes said.