New Husker football commit Willie Sykes, a defensive back out of Spring, Texas, joined "The Bottom Line" on Wednesday to discuss joining Nebraska’s recruiting class. Here's a transcript of some of the interview. For the full responses, watch the video above the story.
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A number of recruits have come to Nebraska from the Houston area. Have you reached out to any of those guys to get tips or advice?
Not really from some of the guys that came from my area. ... But I have lots of friends that play college football in different parts of the country, so I’d ask them for different perspectives and I’d ask them what led them to their school. It was a real family business decision for me. It wasn’t just me, my thoughts, where I wanted to be. It was kind of like people helped me. People really helped me to try to figure out what I wanted, boiled it down and were really there for me. So I really appreciate all the people that helped me.
Explain the phrase “business decision.” What do you mean by that?
I mean my aspiration is in three years to go to the NFL draft. Three and done, then go to the NFL draft, then come back and coach at the school I graduate from. I just felt like at Nebraska that was there for me. I know Coach (Mike) Riley always hires staff that played for him. And I know that Nebraska is so close and in touch with the NFL. With the history of the program, out of all the programs that offered, it was the closest door to the NFL.
Was the recruiting stuff fun for you?
At the beginning, it was more stressful when you don’t have any offers. In the middle, it’s fun going for your first and second visit. In the end, it starts to get bigger and more stressful again. Once you realize you visit all these schools and you can only pick one. You gotta tell somebody no. That’s kind of sad for me. Because at the end of the day, you’ve got to tell somebody no. You grow a relationship with all these coaches through this process, and that’s kind of the sad part for me. At the end, it was more stress than anything. But I’m glad it’s over.
What did you like about Washington State originally?
I love, love, love Coach (Mike) Leach and the coaching staff. And they’ve got a great group of kids up there. They brought me in and made me feel like their little brother and they looked out for me. And that’s why I committed to them. Coach Leach is a great guy. When we talked, we didn’t even talk about football. We talked about my life. And he wanted to know more about me as a person and I wanted to know more about him as a person. I loved talking to Coach Leach. Coach Leach is one of the greatest men I’ve ever been around. It was hard to make a decision. It was hard for me to turn my back on Coach Leach after I told him I’d be a Cougar. But I had to make a tough decision at the end of the day.
Which Nebraska coach was in charge of your recruiting, and what was it that he sold about the program that you liked most?
Coach (Charlton) Warren. He’s a great personality guy. He’s a funny guy. He’s great. I like how he coaches more aggressive. What I liked about him is he broke it down to me, because I was kind of ignorant about the Big Ten, thinking it was all run, run, run, run, run, when it’s not really like that at all. It’s a misconception people have about the Big Ten. It’s a more balanced league.
What are some of the things you think you still need to work on?
I have miles and miles and miles to go. I’m very raw. I’m very, very raw. I mean, I know how to play football, I know how to tackle, I know how to do those things. And I’m very smart with schematics. I can see stuff before it happens. That’s why I make some of the plays I make. But I’m very raw technique-wise. I would like to work on simple stuff, transitioning, things that go with playing defensive back more because I wasn’t always a defensive back. I kind of have to transition into all the breaks and getting into that type of stuff. This is probably my third year playing defensive back, so I need to get the muscle memory and some of that stuff down.