By Rich Chrampanis
Former Red Bank Regional Buc Garrett Sickels has made the decision to forgo his final year of eligibility at Penn State and declare for the 2017 NFL Draft. The Nittany Lions defensive end closed out his collegiate career recording one tackle in Penn State’s 52-49 loss to USC in the Rose Bowl on January 2nd. He declared for the draft just two days later.
“This journey has been an amazing ride from my commitment to Penn State in 2012 to this past Rose Bowl game,” Sickels said in a statement on his Twitter account. “I have made friendships and bonds that will last a lifetime. I’m so unbelievably proud to call myself a Penn Stater. I take great pride in knowing me and my fellow classmates of the 2013 recruiting class have left Penn State in a much greater place than when we arrived.
“After taking some time to reflect on this season and my career at Penn State, I am going to declare for the 2017 NFL Draft. This was not an easy decision by any means but I am excited for the next chapter. I want to thank Coach O’Brien for giving me a scholarship to Penn State. Coach Franklin, Coach Pry and Coach Spencer, thank you for pushing me every day and giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to play for the Blue and White. I will forever be a Penn State Nittany Lion.”
“Garrett has been an impact player on this team and a leader for us on the defensive front,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said in a press release. “He has been a positive influence on his teammates on and off the field, guiding a young defensive line and serving as the president of Uplifting Athletes. We wish him nothing but success in the NFL.”
He was the starter for the last two years on Penn State’s defensive line and was honored as the Nittany Lions defensive MVP for the 2016 season. It’s easy to spotlight his best game. It came in Penn State’s 24-21 upset of Ohio State on October 22. Sickels was benched in the first half for a violation of team rules, but was absolutely dominant in the second half. Sickels had 9 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. He finished the year with 47 tackles and six sacks and was selected second team All-Big Ten by the coaches and was a third team All-Big Ten pick by the media.
Sickels will spend the next four months with a sole focus on the NFL Draft. CBS Sports has him rated as the #8 defensive end among the 2017 prospects. It’s not a guarantee, but he should get an invite to the NFL Scouting combine in Indianapolis which is held in early March. It is there where he will get an audition in front of every NFL team.
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