Oak Park River Forest head coach John Hoerster is upfront about it. If opposing teams devote too much attention to star pass rusher Nile Sykes, he has the other players to make them play for it.
"Nile is very good, but we have some other solid football players as well," he explained. "We really hope he gets double-teamed."
It's pick your poison then, because blocking the 6'1, 225-lb Sykes with one guy may not be the best plan of action either, especially since he's bigger, stronger, and faster than last season, a season in which he recorded 12 sacks.
"He has a great combination of size and speed. He also has shown big play ability at a young age, against very solid competition. He has great upside, with room to grow in size and strength," Hoerster said.
Currently holding four scholarship offers (Illinois, Purdue, Northern Illinois, Toledo) before even playing a snap his junior year, Hoerster says that has as much to do with what he's like off the field as on it.
"He has great character and is a solid student. He's a nice kid, but he can turn that off when he gets on the field."
He did just that recently at Ohio State'S Friday Night Lights camp when he was the fastest linebacker there. While the Buckeyes have not offered yet, that performance caught their eyes and Hoerster heard good things from their coaches.
"Very positive with great feedback from the coaches," he says. "He felt very good about the experience, and feels like he still has the motivation to prove some things this season."
The Illinois offer came earlier this summer, and to receive a Big Ten offer from within your own state lines is always a big deal.
"It's very exciting. I think there is some validation in that offer as well."
The Huskies kick off their season on August 24th at home against Chicago Fenger.
In addition to Sykes, Hoerster has a host of returning players who will help his team make a playoff run this year.
- Sr. Running Back Jakari Cammon was the co-offensive MVP last year in our very tough conference.
-Sr. Tommy O'Dell was injured last season, but will return as a two way player. He plays linebacker, running back, receiver, and returns kicks.
-Sr. Sederick McDonald will be an impact player at linebacker.
- Offensive Lineman Josh Hale has a frame to play at the next level, and is only going to be a Junior.
- Junior Andre Lee will play opposite Sykes, which will give him plenty of opportunities to show his talents.
- Sophomore quarterback Lloyd Yates has a very bright future.