Little Silver (N.J.) Red Bank Regional junior defensive end Garrett Sickels has devoted almost all of his focus to his team's season this year and he's about to become even more single-minded.
That's because Red Bank Regional, currently 5-3 overall and 5-1 in their division, has their first playoff game this Friday. The school has earned a 7-seed and Sickels is a big reason for their success.
On the year Sickels has registered more than 60 tackles with at least 10 sacks. He has also rushed for a touchdown, blocked a punt and recorded a safety, so he's had a knack for making big plays. That, along with his outstanding athleticism for a guy that checks in at 6-foot-4 and 225-pounds, helps explain his lengthy verbal offer list.
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In spite of his busy schedule Sickels was able to make two visits this year.
"I just visited Tennessee and Rutgers this year," he said.
"I was at Tennessee on October 15 when they played LSU. The SEC atmosphere was really awesome. It was my first SEC game and it was very exciting just being in a stadium that large. It's definitely something I could get used to and it's really exciting to see how dedicated the fans are down south.
"I loved Rutgers, too. I love the coaches and I've been going to Rutgers games since I was little. They've got a great tradition down there."
If Sickel and his teammates are eliminated early in the playoffs he may take a trip to Penn State for their game against Nebraska or Florida for their game against Florida State.
Has the Penn State situation affected his view of the Lions?
"It's something I've heard of but really it's not going to affect my decision. I still love Penn State and their atmosphere. I have a great respect for the program and Coach (Joe) Paterno. It's horrible what happened but they're going to overcome it."
Penn State has not yet verbally offered Sickels.