In this installment of The Recruiting Notebook, we meet a long, lean pass catcher with All-American credentials and plenty of potential for a variety of mismatches: Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy 4-star TE Jaleel Skinner.
Skinner committed to Miami the Friday of the Early Signing Period. He flipped from Alabama, a team that was fully expecting to receive his NLI up until the moment Miami officially announced him. Man, I love it when that happens. Here’s the Welcome to the U for the rest of the narrative here:
#WelcomeToTheU, Jaleel Skinner. In a MASSIVE move, All-American TE @jaleel_skinner flipped his commitment from Alabama and to Miami on Friday afternoon! LET’S. GOOOOO!!!!! #Canes https://t.co/envr62paJs pic.twitter.com/9P5UzKtiJu— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) December 17, 2021
On the 247sports composite, Skinner is a 4-star prospect, the #3 TE nationally, #15 in the State of Florida, and #101 player overall in this class.
Skinner committed to Miami over Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, and Texas from a list of 24 scholarship offers from around the country.
As a Player
Skinner is a bit of a tweener right now at 6’5” 216lbs. He’s bigger than a receiver, but smaller (by bulk) than a Tight End. So he does some things like each position, not everything from either one of them. Yet.
As a jumbo receiver, Skinner can be aligned out wide or as the #2 (or #3) receiver to a multiple-receiver side of the offensive formation. He’s great at locating the ball and high pointing it in jump ball situations. And, he has enough speed where the threat of another deep ball can open the back shoulder fade as well.
Skinner won’t run away from many defenders, and that’s why his future is more inside as a TE than outside as a WR. He’s got average speed, maybe slightly above, but that should be plenty to find space in opposing defenses and pick up yardage. Skinner can develop more of a feel for finding space inside against zone defenses; windows to make himself available to the QB and soft spots to sit down and be a stable target.
Skinner will clearly need to gain weight at Miami to fully embrace the role of a TE. Sure, Miami wants to keep his outside receiving versatility, but they’ll need him to have a bit more size to block inside the box against ACC defenders.
Most of Skinners blocking on film comes from an H-Back alignment. That allows him to get a step or two of momentum before contacting the defender to block. That’s a formation quirk Miami has used in the past, and one that will likely help Skinner be as effective as possible as a blocker early on in his collegiate career.
Skinner is rarely seen as an in-line TE, but he’s great at attacking the seam when put in that alignment. Again, he’ll need to bulk up to be a viable blocker from that alignment but I fully expect that development to happen at Miami.
For another look at Skinner, here’s an eval from 247sports Southeast Recruiting Analyst Andrew Ivins.
A legit 6-foot-5 with a slender build. Wingspan stretches well over 80 inches. One of the more unique skill players in the class of 2022 given lengthy frame. Has spent majority of prep career split out wide as a jumbo wide receiver. Viewed by most college staffs, however, as a flex tight end at the next level. Extraordinary catch radius. Uses long stride to work his way down the field. Takes advantage of soft coverage on a consistent basis. Isn’t the most physical of prospects, but is relatively competitive after the catch. Track background helped foster some straight-line speed. Entry-level blocker at this stage in his development, which is almost expected for someone on the leaner side. Will obviously need to bulk up as he was under 225 pounds the spring before senior season. Also needs to get better at attacking the ball in the air and could get more fluid with his movement patterns. In no way a polished product, but has an extremely high ceiling given physical stature. Should eventually contribute for a Top 25 program and make an impact in the passing game once body matures. NFL upside.
- Catch radius
- Mismatch in passing game
- Kind of a tweener (WR/TE)
- Needs to bulk up some
- Blocking needs improvement
Note: changed this up from just a freshman-season outlook to a career outlook for each player last year and we’re continuing that style this year as well.
Simply put, Skinner is far too impressive an athlete to keep on the sidelines. He may need a full season to step into a starring role, but there’s no reason why Skinner shouldn’t be able to find his way onto the field as a freshman.
The sky is the limit for Jaleel Skinner at Miami. He figures to be the next in a long line of great Canes TEs, and All-Conference accolades and a high draft pick should be the goal and focus for his time at Miami. Yes, it’s lofty, but so is Skinner’s talent.
Greatness awaits. Make it happen, kid.
That’s it for this installment of The Recruiting Notebook.