So, Saturday night the Red Bank Regional High (Little Silver, N.J.) defensive end called Nittany Lions coach Bill O'Brien and committed, and Sunday evening he decided to make his decision public.
"My mom knew I wanted to commit early and I said to me dad, ‘Dad, I'm committing today,' " Sickels said. "He asked if I was sure it was what I wanted to do. ‘Dad, I've never been so sure.' I dialed (O'Brien) up and hung out with my girlfriend at night and that was it."
Sickels didn't have an elaborate celebration after his commitment but he did make a trip to the store Sunday to pick up some Penn State gear.
"I'll have it on (Monday) at school," he said.
However, his junior day experience at Penn State changed his outlook on everything.
"I didn't want to be anywhere else," Sickels said. "I thought long and hard about it. I thought about committing in April when I went up there, but the last few weeks I started writing everything down about every school and I just can't imagine a better fit for me academically and playing-wise, and my relationship with coach O'Brien and (assistant) coach (Larry) Johnson and all the coaches. It's a good feeling up there."
In fact, Sickels was thinking of committing for the last week.
"I spoke to (O'Brien) last week and told him Penn State was my favorite choice right now and at the time I didn't really weigh everything out," Sickels said. "I told him in April I was going to see Notre Dame and Ohio State and come back to Penn State and give them an answer. I wrote everything down and thought, ‘This is a no-brainer.' If I went to those schools, I wouldn't be thinking about going there. I would thinking about ‘Why am I not at Penn State?'
"So I called him yesterday and said, ‘Coach, I have some good news.' He's like, ‘What?' I said, ‘I'm going to Penn State.' I'm very excited."
The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Sickels also likes the way he fits into defensive coordinator Ted Roof's system.
"Coach Ted Roof is known for letting his defensive unleash," Sickels said. "At Auburn, when he was there, those four up front did a tremendous job and he really wants to emulate that. And with a coach like Larry Johnson coaching the defensive line, it will be really good. They always have good d-linemen and it's something I want to be a part of."
The cherry on top for Sickels is proximity.
"I'm really close with my parents and I have two sisters in the south," Sickels said. "I do want to have them accessible to me if I ever need anything. That's a small part of it. The main reason is all because of the coaches there, and I believe in what coach (Joe) Paterno set forth."