Illinois prep safety Kenney Lyke reports Notre Dame offer

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

ADDISON, Ill. — Kenney Lyke’s weekend started with a fever, and ended with a call.

On Saturday, despite a 102-degree fever, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound safety competed in a track meet for Fremd High School in Palatine, Ill. The following morning, he woke up, took some medicine and arrived at Nike’s The Opening Regional camp in Chicago just in time for the opening drills.

And on Sunday night, Notre Dame beckoned.

Finally.

“Coach (Mike) Denbrock just wanted to congratulate me on not only the offer but being patient throughout the process,” Lyke said. “It’s a very big weight off my shoulders. I’ve been waiting for this one for a while, and it’s just a great offer to have.”

Sunday’s scholarship offer was a long time coming for Lyke, who received a visit from Denbrock at his high school last week. Ranked by both Rivals and 247Sports as a three-star prospect, the rangy safety that towered over his fellow defensive backs in Sunday’s camp attended Notre Dame’s junior day in March, and hoped to leave South Bend with a new offer.

Instead, the courtship continued.

“I have a really good relationship with Notre Dame and the staff at Notre Dame,” Lyke said after the camp. “When I went there, I left without an offer. But you just have to know that it’s a process. Things go on. But I kept my head high and stayed in contact with Notre Dame.

“The coaches say they love me. They came out to see me.”

Denbrock’s visit was a purposeful one, as the Notre Dame associate head coach tried to gauge whether Lyke — a tall, slender athlete who covers ground in long, gliding strides — could succeed in man-to-man coverage and potentially prove more versatile in South Bend.

“He came up to my school last week, watched me do a lot of coverage,” Lyke said. “That’s what he wants to see from me, as well as a lot of other schools. He watched me during my gym class and workouts.”

And on Sunday, Lyke got his answer. Earlier in the day, he stood in the middle of a turf field at Addison Trail High School, his voice still hoarse from the lingering fever, the No. 382 printed on his chest, and rattled off a tentative top-five:

Michigan State. Ohio State. Baylor. Oregon. TCU.

By the time he went to sleep, his list had received a frantic makeover.

“The University of Notre Dame probably has the best tradition of any college football team in the country,” Lyke said on Sunday night. “They’re definitely in my top five.”

It was a triumphant end to a challenging weekend for Lyke, who claims nearly 20 offers in a recruitment that seems to have reached a fever pitch.

And though he has already visited Notre Dame, Lyke won’t hesitate to make a return trip.

“Whatever weekend they want me to come up there,” he said, “I’ll definitely come.”

mvorel@ndinsider.com | 574-235-6428 | Twitter: @mikevorel

Blessed to have received my 20th Offer from the University Of Notre Dame #WeAreNDpic.twitter.com/HqLaSq2WYZ

— Kenney Lyke (@Kenney_Trill14) May 4, 2015//

Defensive back Kenney Lyke named a top four of Notre Dame, Michigan State, Baylor and Oregon on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of Student Sports)