Linebacker Nile Sykes' future at Notre Dame in doubt

Linebacker Nile Sykes' future at Notre Dame in doubt
July 2, 2014, 1:15 pm
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Blue and Gold Illustrated reported Wednesday that incoming freshman linebacker Nile Sykes will leave Notre Dame, though soon after the report hit the Internet, Sykes tweeted "I am still currently a Notre Dame student."

Messages left with Sykes and his father were not immediately returned. A Notre Dame football spokesperson said the program had no comment on Sykes' status.

If Sykes indeed is on his way out, it would ding Notre Dame's linebacker depth this year and in the future. Sykes told CSN Chicago in January that defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said he could become a Sean Weatherspoon-type weakside outside linebacker (VanGorder coached Weatherspoon, a former first-round draft pick, with the Atlanta Falcons).

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Of course, Sykes would've began the 2014 season slotted behind sophomore Jaylon Smith and possibly linebacker converts John Turner and James Onwualu at Will linebacker in VanGorder's 4-3 defense.

Sykes had the versatility to play inside or outside, though, and was lauded by coach Brian Kelly on signing day.

"He is a physical player," Kelly said. "He's got very good ball skills, instincts, and again, another versatile player in our front seven that's going to add to the depth of our football team."

Sykes committed to Notre Dame in December of 2013 out of Montini High School and was rated by as a three-star recruit.