October 22, 2020

Coach helps young athletes chase that scholarship

(Franklin, GA) — Heard County Brave football fans have noticed the presence of a new coach on the sidelines during Friday night games at Staples Stadium over the past couple of years, and this coach’s presence has been noticed perhaps even more on social media where he does arguably his most important work.

Coach Chuck Sykes is helping Brave athletes with the recruiting process. He has a lot of experience in recruiting over the years and he has already helped several Brave players gain the much-needed exposure they need to try and obtain a college scholarship.

The 49-year-old coach was born in Jacksonville, FL and graduated high school from Nathan Bedford Forrest High School before moving on to graduate college from Fayetteville State University and FTCC. He is also a veteran of the United States Army.

Sykes has coached not only high school football but high school basketball and AAU basketball as well.

In fact, basketball is where he first became interested in the recruitment process. Sykes found his passion for recruiting in North Carolina with D-One Sports Basketball Team.

The squad was sponsored by a major shoe company that required the team to play in major events across the country during live periods in which college coaches would be sitting court side to evaluate talent.

Over the years, Sykes built a strong relationship with a lot of college programs as well as many prep schools.

“I took my basketball connections and started networking football programs,” says Sykes. “During the process I reached out to high school coaches I met along the way while working Nike Combines and Regional Opening events. I picked up a few pointers on the recruiting process.”

Sykes says his love to help kids motivates him to go above and beyond to see athletes who wanna excel at the next level. He spends many hours and travels on many weekends with Brave prospects.

He also just recently attended a big recruiting fair with head coach Tim Barron last week hoping to find the right fit for some Brave players that are hoping to land a college home.

One of those players is his own son, Brave senior running back DayVin Troy. DayVin was in fact one of the reasons Sykes ended up coming to Heard County.

“After meeting with Rodney Kay (principal of HHS at the time) and Coach Barron a few years back, it was a no brainer that this would be a great school for DayVin,” says Sykes.

Caption: Coach Chuck Sykes with Braves DayVin Troy (L) and Emory Jones (C) during a visit to Ohio State for the Buckeyes game with the Michigan Wolverines on November 26.  

Caption: Coach Chuck Sykes with Braves DayVin Troy (L) and Emory Jones (C) during a visit to Ohio State for the Buckeyes game with the Michigan Wolverines on November 26.

DayVin’s dream is to play college football and he just recently picked up offers from a couple of smaller schools and is still weighing his options.

Sykes and his wife La-Toy also have six other children CJ, Danesha, Destiny, Dominique, DeVan and DayLin. He is very appreciative for the opportunity to work so closely with DayVin at HHS.

“It’s just a wonderful feeling being able to be a part of DayVin’s high school development and growth not only in the game of football but also as a leader. This wouldn’t have be possible without the blessing from Coach Tim Barron and our athletic director Shane Lasseter,” Sykes states.

The Brave recruit coordinator says the process has changed dramatically over the past couple of decades.

“The recruiting process today is totally different than years ago. For years, the recruiting process started with the high school coach, but today the process starts earlier and quicker,” says Sykes.

“For the college coach, social media can be used as a form to communicate, recruit and gather information. Today we have so many outlets for coaches or recruiting coordinators to see athletes perform on the football field and figure out what type of person the recruit may be outside of the classroom/football field.”

Social media and other new technologies are one of the primary things that Sykes deals with in the recruiting process for the Braves.

“Here at Heard County, we are currently utilizing four social media outlets for our recruits. I monitor our prospects social media sites just like most colleges or universities to make sure that our prospects are doing the right thing,” says Sykes. “A simple tweet or facebook post can be the difference between getting recruited or having a scholarship being taken away.”

Sykes offers sound advice for any young athletes hoping to fulfill that college scholarship dream.

“It all starts with academics. I encourage each athlete to make sure they are getting it done in the classroom and continuing to work on their specialty, whatever that may be. I tell them to make sure that they are going to camps — it’s all about exposure,” says Sykes.

“You have to be seen in order to display your skills. The bottom line is you have to be committed to putting in the work. There are a million kids trying to achieve the same goal, an opportunity to earn a free education and to play football. I also challenge parents to educate themselves on how the recruiting process works and expectation of a parent — that is also very important.”

Sykes will continue to work with potential scholarship athletes for the Braves next season.

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