Clemson's next great middle linebacker? Skalski talks commitment

by - Staff Writer -
Skalski watches Clemson's win over Boston College

Defensive coordinator Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Def. Coordinator / Linebackers
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likes hard-hitting linebackers, and Jamie SkalskiJamie Skalski
6-1, 225
Newnan, GA

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thinks he fits that mold.

All you have to do is look at sophomore Ben Boulware – one of the first prospects Venables offered after being hired three years ago – and his knack for contact.

At 6-1, 225 pounds, Newnan (GA) Northgate’s Skalski is almost a carbon copy of Boulware and may be Clemson’s next hard-hitting middle linebacker after the junior became Clemson’s sixth commitment of the 2016 recruiting class.

Skalski joined tight end J.C. ChalkJ.C. Chalk
Tight End
6-4, 221
Argyle, TX

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, quarterback Zerrick CooperZerrick Cooper
6-4, 200
Jonesboro, GA

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, offensive lineman Sean PollardSean Pollard
Offensive Guard
6-5, 295
Southern Pines, NC

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, wide receivers T.J. ChaseT.J. Chase
Wide Receiver
6-2, 175
Plant City, FL

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and Cornell PowellCornell Powell
Wide Receiver
6-1, 185
Greenville, NC

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, and running back Tavien FeasterTavien Feaster
Running Back
6-0, 190
Spartanburg, SC

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when he committed to Clemson last Wednesday afternoon. He had offers from Louisville, Marshall, Ole Miss, North Carolina, South Carolina, UCF and Wake Forest.

The three-star linebacker prospect told TigerNet after his commitment that the opportunity to be coached by Venables and play for head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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was something that he simply couldn’t pass up.

“Coach Venables and Coach Swinney. I like them a lot and I could really see myself playing for them and being a part of Clemson,” Skalski told TigerNet recently. “I fell in love with those guys. I decided to commit last week because I kind of just wanted to focus on getting my body right and my mind right for football, so I wanted to go ahead and commit and focus on everything else and not recruiting.”

Clemson was already thought to be among Skalski’s favorites but a trip to Clemson the weekend prior to his commitment sealed the deal.

“Sunday after I went to Clemson for junior day is when I realized that I wanted to go to Clemson,” Skalski said. “I talked to my parent after we got home and made the decision. I called Coach Venables and he put me on the phone with Coach Swinney and we went through the normal recruiting stuff. They were both excited about me committing.”

The Tigers are getting a linebacker who is quick thinking and not afraid of contact.

“They're getting a smart football player who is quick and fast on his feet and likes to hit a little bit,” he said.

Because Skalski comes from a soccer background, he’s quicker than most would think when they see a MIKE linebacker.

“I'm odd because I play soccer, too, which helps a lot with my quickness with my feet, so I've got good speed for my size,” he said. “I think he likes how fast I can read things and how quick I am to react to it. I like MIKE because I like being in the middle of the field. “

Skalski registered 78 tackles and three sacks during his junior campaign, despite missing three games with a broken thumb.

He also plays on special teams as the kicker and has a knack for getting touchbacks on kickoffs and also hit a 55-yard field goal last season.

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