Four-star defensive end
Garrett Sickels of Little Silver (N.J.) Red
Bank Regional has long been a fan of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, so when
the opportunity arose for him to play in the game he quickly grabbed it.
"I think I first watched the game when I was 11," said Sickels. "Back then I
told my mom that I wanted to make sure that I would get a full ride to play
football in college and that I would be a high school All-American."
As he continued to work for his two goals over the next few years he began to
realize that they might actually become a reality. Last fall he got even closer
to achieving his goals.
"I kept working hard and hoping that I would achieve my two goals," said
Sickels. "Then I got a packet from the Army either last October or November. I
opened it up and it was everything I had hoped for. I called my mom right away
and told her, 'Oh my God, I did it!' That night I put my signature on the paper
and sent it back in. At that point I knew that one part of my dream was
While he officially confirmed his place in the game almost a year ago, today it
became even more of a reality with the presentation of his game jersey.
"I was very excited for it," he said. "I'm definitely looking forward to
One reason that he is excited to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl is the
opportunity to play with his good friend and future teammate,
Brendan Mahon, for the first time.
"I'm so excited to play with Brendan," said Sickels. "He's one of my best
friends and our families have become really close. It will be great to be down
there with him and our families. It will also be the start of us playing
together for the next four or five years."
When he is down in Texas in January, Sickels will have a couple of goals in
"Just to have fun and I want to show everyone in my area why I got invited to
the game," he said.
In the meantime, Sickels is hoping to finish off his senior season on a good
"It has been a frustrating start, but we're hoping everything turns around for
the better this weekend," said Sickels. "Personally I'm being double-teamed on
every play. I've been executing very well though and I've definitely noticed
growth in my game with all of the little things."
Off the field, Sickels has long been committed to Penn State (along
with Mahon) and has maintained his commitment to the Nittany Lions through all
of the bad press and sanctions.
"I'm 100-percent committed," said Sickels, who was asked about the current Penn
State season. "I'm very excited for them. They were learning a new offense so it
took a little time, but they're on an upswing now. I'm definitely impressed with
the defense and I'm just excited to play for coach (Bill) O'Brien, (Ted) Roof,
(Larry) Johnson and (Ron) Vanderlinden. It's an exciting part of my life."
Sickels has already taken a few visits and will return to Happy Valley for the
Wisconsin game. He will also take his official visit during the weekend
of Dec. 7.