RECRUITING: Brandon Sikes Has Florida In Top Five

Linebacker Brandon Spikes of Shelby (NC) is already one of the most sought after prospects in the country for the 2006 recruiting class, but the 6-4, 230-pounder doesn't wait for the coaches to call him. He has five favorite schools on his recruiting list and he doesn't hesitate to dial long distance.

Though he has five favorites, he says Michigan, LSU, Florida, and Florida State are spending the most time recruiting him. His personal list of favorites is Oklahoma, Michigan, NC State, LSU, and Florida.

"I pretty much call Oklahoma, Florida, Michigan, NC State, and Virginia," said Spikes, who has received more than 20 offers already.

One of the chief reasons Florida is on that list is because of Coach Doc Holliday, the Gators' safeties coach who was on Chuck Amato's North Carolina State staff the previous five years.

"Florida, they are doing a great job of recruiting me right now," he said. "Coach Holliday is recruiting me at Florida. Florida is a beautiful state. A lot of people sit in that stadium. I am supposed to go to Florida on June 4. They told me they have me as one of their top 10 players in the nation."

One of his favorite coaches to talk to is Bob Stoops at Oklahoma. He also likes the little bit that he knows about the school so far. "Oklahoma is a winning program and they are just dominant in what they do," he said. "I talk to Coach (Brent) Venables and Coach Stoops at Oklahoma."

Michigan is another one of his favorites and Wide Receiver Coach Erik Campbell is the one that is recruiting Spikes and who Spikes calls to talk Wolverine football. "Michigan is also a winning program," he said. "I know it is cold up there, but I think I can play early."

Running Back Coach Dick Portee is recruiting Spikes to NC State, but Spikes has also had many conversations with Coach Chick Amato of the Wolfpack. "NC State is close to home and is an in-state school," he said. "I am going to check in and look at them some more and I think I have a chance to play there early also."

LSU has worked hard to garner his interest and he lists them as one of his favorites. Still the coaches at LSU have yet to hear from him at the moment. "LSU again, is a winning program," he said. "I don't know too much about them yet, but I know they are trying to recruit me real good."

Spikes is doing well enough in school that he's considering the possibility of early graduation. He is pretty serious about his football career but does like to play video games when he is not working out or practicing. He also is an avid fisherman and will head out to the water with anyone for a day of relaxing and catching fish. He works out five days a week on his speed and endurance.

His Crest High School team is coming off back-to-back state titles and the expectations are very high for making it three in a row. Spikes was a huge part of that success and will have to bring even more in his senior year for his team to repeat.

"I missed two games (last season) but had 98 tackles, 7 picks, and 6 forced fumbles," he said. "I had a hip pointer of sorts and missed the two games."

He brings intangibles to the field that you just can't coach and, of course, a ton of experience as a four-year starter.

"They say I make everybody else around me better," he said. "I am the quarterback of the defense, I call out the plays. I have side line to side line speed, good vision, and play tough at the line of scrimmage. Hitting is what I like to do most."

Growing up, he loved watching the Miami Hurricanes and there is some UM influence in the way he plays the game on the field.

"When I grew up I was watching Miami," he said. "I base my game with how they play. I run around with that swagger on the field."

He's only visited one campus so far, but he's planning a busy summer with some unofficial visits to several college campuses. In the fall he will be taking his official visits.

"I have only been to NC State but during the season is when I am going to take all five of my (official) visits," he said. "I could graduate early but I am going to wait till the last day to decide and commit on signing day."

Fans of all his favorites will have to wait until February, but as the process unwinds the hints will start to come out and schools will be eliminated or replaced by others on the list. He's got a priority list that every school will have to meet before he makes his decision.

"Location isn't a problem," he said. "The school and education are important. I want to feel like I am home with the staff. I want to play early and play for a national championship and be around winners. With all of my favorites right now, I know I can play early."

While numerous recruiting websites project him as a defensive end, that's not what he's hearing from the coaches who call him regularly.

"When I am looking at the websites they have me at strong side defensive end, I haven't ever played defensive end," he said. "The coaches all want me at linebacker."

He has no plans to camp this summer. He said the coaches who talk to him are okay with that decision.

"They all say they don't need to evaluate me," he said. "They know I can play. I just want to get around the staffs and stuff and check them out."

Brandon Spikes is a man on several missions. He wants to find the right school to attend in the fall, wants to find a football program where he will fit in and his immediate goal is to lead Crest to a third straight state championship. He's a busy young man but he's got everything in perspective. He's the kind of kid who will make some college coach a very happy man on signing day in February.

Fightin Gators Top Stories