Prior to Penn State's recent Rose Bowl appearance vs. USC, redshirt junior DE Garrett Sickels said he was going to have a decision to make after the game about whether to declare early for the NFL Draft. In an emotional locker room following the Nittany Lions' 52-49 loss, Sickels said he had a timetable for the decision but was not willing to share it.
The timetable ended up being a quick one. Less than two days after the game, Sickels declared for the draft via Twitter.
Sickels led Penn State with 12.5 tackles for loss and tied for the team lead with half a dozen sacks.
When Sickels signed with the Nittany Lions and Bill O’Brien in 2013, the odds of him ever playing in a bowl seemed remote. The previous summer, PSU had been slammed with NCAA sanctions (stemming from the Sandusky scandal) that were described as unprecedented.
But all of the sanctions have since expired or been invalidated. And Sickels played in his third straight bowl this year. He was wistful when talking about earning a New Year’s Six bid this season prior to the bowl.
“It’s pretty cool that things have come full circle,” Sickels said. “My last game as a recruit was Wisconsin (in 2012), when they put the year up in (Beaver Stadium). And then we beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship (this year). So it’s pretty awesome.” http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1742826-ua-game-r...
Sickels remains extremely close with several members of Penn State’s recruiting classes of 2012 and 2013, many of whom had already moved on. That includes quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who gave up his final season of eligibility and was a second-round pick of the New York Jets last spring.
“They’re loving it, they’re fired up for us,” Sickels said of the former Lions. “Christian, I talk to him a lot, and he goes, ‘I’m so happy to see where the program’s at.’ … Just to see where we’re at, everyone is a part of that. … If we didn’t have my class, if we didn’t have … the Class of 2012, it would be interesting to see where this program would be.”