Sykes Back in Champaign

Nile Sykes of Montini (formerly Oak Park-River Forest) has made several visits to Illinois, and he made yet another this weekend for the junior day events.

It's been a busy offseason for defender Nile Sykes. First, he transferred from Oak-Park River Forest to four-time defending state champion Montini in Lombard. And he's also picked up a couple offers. One from Illinois, and just this weekend, another from Indiana.

But on Saturday, Sykes joined teammate Dylan Thompson at Illinois for the junior day, and he got to take a more in-depth look at the program and the school.

"I learned some new things about the weight room that really surprised me," he said. "I also got a larger tour of the campus. It's beautiful."

Illinois has really pursued Sykes persistently since offering him. He says he feels like his relationship with the coaches has gotten even stronger lately.

"I think my relationship has definitely gotten stronger, and I can tell how much they want me," Sykes said. "Coach Ward has already been to school 5 times so they are really showing me some love."

Teammate Dylan Thompson got an offer Saturday from Illinois and Sunday from Indiana, and Sykes was excited for him and what the next season could bring for Montini.

"I'm proud of him. He picked up 2 offers this weekend so that's huge. He's really excited," he said. "I just can't wait until next season."

Most recruits aren't willing to admit when they have a leader in their recruitment, but Sykes does admit that Illinois has an edge for him right now, although he isn't ready to pull the trigger just yet.

"They are my favorite right now," Sykes said. "I definitely know about them the most, but we'll see how things go. I have no intentions of committing any time soon."

Until then, Sykes is focused on extending Montini's state champion reign in Class 5A with a five-peat this coming season.

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