PICKERINGTON, Ohio – Pickerington Central safety Sonny Styles is one of Ohio State’s top targets in the 2023 class. If you follow Ohio State recruiting you have likely heard or read his name many times at this point and for good reason. Styles is one of the very best players in the nation and he is also a very good human being.
With 2:33 left in Friday night’s game, Styles’ Tigers took a 28-10 lead over Cincinnati Elder, which all but locked the game up. After taking that lead, Styles spent the rest of the game on the sidelines soaking up the scenery, which primarily consisted of the student section.
With all of the COVID-19 restrictions last season and Styles not playing his freshman season due to a leg injury, this was the first time the junior got to play in front of a packed house on Central’s home turf. And he fed off the energy from that crowd all game.
“I think for me it was amazing. Just the energy from the student section, that is like my favorite part of the game especially when I am at home. So it was great to just experience that,” Styles said, “Growing up I used to be a ball boy out here and that used to be my favorite part. They would be crazy. I enjoyed it, this is my first time really experiencing it like that.”
Speaking of ball boys, the Tigers have many of them. The group is primarily composed of coaches’ children or younger siblings of the players on the team. When Styles wasn’t soaking in the crowd you could find him talking with those current ball boys, doing his best to leave an impression on the future generations of Pickerington Central.
“We were just talking. I was asking one kid who he plays tomorrow,” Styles said. “One kid told me he could dunk on me, so just chopping it up with them. I think it’s just cool to be able to talk to the youth, obviously I’m still young but there are guys that are really young that look up to me, so it’s cool to have those conversations. Those are conversations they’ll remember for a few years.”
As for what Styles was telling them it was nothing too major. Just the ‘little things’ as he called it, but he hopes they leave a lasting impact.
“One kid, I was just talking to him about coming ready to play because he said he plays a team tomorrow that is bad,” Styles explained. “I was like ‘you have to be ready to play though. You have to play every game like you’re playing the best team in the country.’ It’s just little things like that I think go a long way.”
While it seems crazy to hear a teenager talk about time flying, Styles is a very aware and mature young man. He understands that before too long he’ll be playing on Saturdays instead of Fridays and hopefully Sundays after that. Despite all of that, he is just trying to enjoy high school football at the moment while time keeps flying by.
“I think it’s just crazy to see how time flies. People always talk about your high school years and how you need to enjoy them because they are going to fly by,” he said. “And you never really realize it but I remember like it was yesterday when I broke my leg and I was out for my whole freshman football season. It’s just crazy how time flies, for real.”
Yes, Sonny Styles will make his college decision before too long and wherever he goes will be very happy. Right now, however, he is just trying to win a state title, keep playing basketball for as long as he can, and be a teenager for just a little while longer.
For Styles highlights from last Friday’s game against Cincinnati Elder click the link below!