Tennessee's Most Coveted Player?

Rae Sykes (De, Alcoa, TN) - Last season was a bitter sweet one for possibly Tennessee's top prospect. His team won their second straight State Championship, but Rae had to watch it from the sidelines.

"I broke a bone in my forearm in the tenth week. I was crushed, man. We were shooting for our second straight championship, and then all of the sudden, I was out for the season. I had never been hurt before. It was a life lesson for me. I never want to experience that again," added Rae Sykes

Sykes still put up some impressive numbers as he collected 60 tackles and 6 sacks, but they were nothing like the year before.

"I had 132 tackles and 10 sacks. I led our team in tackles that year."

What makes Sykes such an explosive defensive end?

"I think I am a pure pass rusher. I keep the pressure on the QB. I am quick off of the ball. I think I am just a good all around defensive player."

And what does Rae need to work on?

"I am trying to get quicker. I want to get my forty down to a 4.6 flat (currently runs a 4.67 according to Rae). I also need to get a lot stronger (benches 315). I just need to get bigger and better for the next level."

The four year starter for Alcoa has attracted national interest already as several of the top programs from Coast to Coast have already offered."

"I have been offered by LSU, FSU, North Carolina State, Kentucky, Ole Miss, MSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and I think that is it."

Have any of the colleges started to separate themselves from the pack?

Well, I have not made up my mind yet. I visited LSU and liked it down there. I have been to Tennessee and liked it there too. I have got to go to some more camps so I can see their campuses and hopefully by the middle of my Sr year, I will know."

Which camps might Sykes visit this summer?

"I know for sure, I am going back to LSU. I am going to try to go to FSU. I am going to Tennessee. Notre Dame wants me to come up to their Jr Day. Ole Miss wants me at their camp. I do not know yet."

Which college is showing this talented youngster the most love?

"I have to say Tennessee because they are so close and not hard to get in touch with, but LSU is not far from behind them."

LSU was the first school to offer Rae. What attracts Rae to the Tigers?

"They did pretty good this year, and I like their coaches. I took a tour around their campus and really liked it."

And what stands out about Tennessee?

"I like their staff too. I am very familiar with them. I have been to a few of their games. Really, there is so much to say about Tennessee. I could go on and on about them. I will be up there this weekend for their Jr Day."

Rae will attend the Scout.com combine at Ole Miss on April 30th.

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