Now he has a pair in his pocket.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior earned the coveted asks from Division I FCS programs University of Sacred Heart, located in Fairfield, Connecticut and Duquene University in Pittsburgh. Both are Northeast Conference programs.
Sykes received the news of the Sacred Heart offer Wednesday after the school visited the Middletown campus. Assistant coach Pat Saporito made the offer.
“I was just blown away to get my first offer at a Division I school. It surprised me that they were willing to trust me to offer,” Sykes said. “They loved that I’m a taller back. They think I could play in the backfield or in the slot.”
He picked up the offer from Duquene less than 24 hours later.
The combination of size and speed make Sykes an attractive option for prospective college programs.
“Richie has elite size for his position,” Middletown coach Brett Myers said. “There are not a lot of backs who have Richie’s frame and speed. Richie could easily end up being a 220-pound back in two years.”
Sykes wrapped up his final circuit on the prep tour — his first at Middletown after previously playing at Red Land — with 1,226 yards on 142 carries. He reached pay dirt 15 times as part of a one-two backfield punch with junior Jose Lopez. The duo helped to lead the Blue Raiders to a third consecutive PIAA Class 3A title game. Myers’ club fell to Aliquippa 35-0 Dec. 7 at Hersheypark Stadium.
Other schools interested in Sykes include Toledo, Delaware, Robert Morris, Albany, and Villanova, he said.
Sacred Heart finished the 2018 season with a 7-4 mark while Duquene posted a 9-4 record.
“Good things happen to good people who stay the course,” Myers said.
That’s Sykes. And now he’s been rewarded.