Spring (TX.) junior cornerback Willie Sykes hasn't had a great spring so far. Earlier this spring, he experienced a freak accident in a tackling drill and had a hairline fracture in his shoulder, which kept him out for a while. After recently being cleared to start doing some things to return, he is getting his range in motion back, looking to regain his strength, but has been feeling better each day.
Despite, his recovery moving along, schools have been on the fence of offering. That didn't stop Minnesota and defensive backs coach Jay Sawvel from going ahead and pulling the trigger on him.
"Coach Sawvel from Minnesota told me the day before he was coming to the school," Sykes told GopherDigest. "He has been communicating with me and he likes me and they were taking 5 defensive backs and they are very interested in me. When he came to the school the next day, he asked my coach about my grades, morals, what kind of kid I was and those things. He then checked me out to see if I was really my height and weight. He shook my hand and told me they were even more interested. He told me to after school to call him, so the next day I called him and we talked for awhile. After that long talk, he told me that I had a offer from Minnesota and we talked for a little longer after about the opportunity at Minnesota and how great it is. He was talking about Minnesota, but not just the school and just the area in general."
"Before he direct message me on Twitter, I had gotten no letters from Minnesota and never talked to anyone. I never knew anything was coming. When I got the offer, I was very shocked, very surprised and very happy. It came out of nowhere and I had no idea. I am very very interested in Minnesota. The idea of playing early is very appealing to me. Minnesota is my top school. We are trying to see financially if we will able to get up there in the summer or if I am going to wait until I can visit later."
The 5-11, 170-pound physical corner holds offers from Utah and Southern Mississippi, but feels this offer from the Golden Gophers was huge by them taking a chance on him and not being afraid in him after his injury.
"I had an injury this spring, so a lot of teams that have been talking to me just want to see me play," said Sykes. "I will probably get more (offers) in the future, but right now I have a lot of teams showing interest, but I am just focused on getting healthy and getting to have the best season I can."
"It makes me feel like they really want me by offering me when other teams won't and that is another reason why they are also my top school. They knew I was injured and he saw me in the sling and I could look at him in his eyes and tell it was a legit offer and had no questions about the injury. He believed in my abilities, so that was really great. Some schools are the fence just because of the injury, but for him to offer me, it really means a lot."
When Sykes does hit the field next season, he will be ready to show everyone that his injury was a thing of the past and he is back.
"I want to show everybody my game," said Sykes. "I am fast, physical and competitive. I can play any of the defensive back spots and free safety. I love to tackle and compete. I am a hard worker that is the type of person I am. I play to the whistle and am very competitive. I like to be the best in everything."Sykes plans on getting up to Baylor and to Houston. He also might Southern Mississippi and Colorado. Minnesota is definitely a priority for him to visit as well.