Now 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Sickels is a talented defensive end in the 2013 class at Red Bank Regional High (Little Silver, N.J.), and he is getting plenty of interest from Notre Dame.
"I've been talking to (assistant) coach (Bob) Diaco," Sickels said. "He's really excited."
Sickels is yet to land a Notre Dame offer, but one could be coming in the near future.
And although Sickels is yet to travel east of Ohio, he is a fan of football's history and knows Notre Dame's well.
"Notre Dame speaks for itself," he said. "The tradition there is unmatched to any college team. Notre Dame, Touchdown Jesus, Rudy …I actually have a picture of Rudy signed by him. It's in my room right now."
Sickels played linebacker, defensive end, offensive line and tight end so far in high school, but schools view him as a tight end or defensive end.
"I think I have the athleticism to play tight end and I can block pretty well, so that's another passion, but defense is my favorite," he said. "There's nothing like coming around that edge and getting the quarterback."
Sickels is hoping to build on a sophomore season in which he registered 42 tackles and 9½ sacks while leading the Bucs to a state playoff berth.
Three years ago, Red Bank Regional was winless, but the current corps of players led the Bucs to a 4-6 mark last season.
"The main thing we're focused on is redeeming the program and bringing it back to its former glory," Sickels said. "We just want to get after it and make a statement."
Making visits out-of-state will be difficult during the season, but Sickels plans to visit Notre Dame in the offseason.