Alabama football coach Nick Saban Thursday flexed his considerable recruiting muscle in the state of South Carolina again. For the 2021 class, Saban signed tight end Robbie Ouzts of Rock Hill. Now he is going after TE Jaleel Skinner (6-5 200) of Greer. Saban and Skinner held a Zoom call Thursday, and Saban delivered the news of the offer directly to Skinner.
“This one was special. This one was different,” Skinner said. “This is the first time I’ve had a head coach offer me his self. Me and Coach Saban had a great conversation. It was great getting to actually talk to him. I really want to me him in person. He showed me some of the notes he wrote down on me, and me as a player, a lot of my strengths and my few weaknesses I have. He was telling me a lot about how they operate down there. I was really excited to get it. It really put a real big smile on my face just hearing it from him.”
Skinner is a wide receiver trapped inside a tight end’s body. But schools are telling him he can be used both ways, flexed out as a tight end or even split out like a receiver. And he said Saban compared him to one of his all-time greats at the position, OJ Howard.
“He said that he liked that I’m a very versatile guy,” Skinner said. “I can play inside and outside. I’m a bigger, faster guy and they like those type of guys with their offense.”
Clemson also remains a major factor with Skinner. He said he and tight ends coach Tony Elliott are communicating a lot with Zoom calls.
“It’s great talking to those guys, too. You can’t forget them,” Skinner said. “We’re just talking and getting a little more in depth on the program and some on the academics and other stuff at the campus.”
The same cannot be said for Skinner and USC as the Gamecocks appear to have moved on to other tight end targets.
“Unfortunately, me and South Carolina, we really don’t talk as much since they have a new coaching staff,” Skinner said. “It’s OK, though. It’s not like how it was with the old coaching staff. It’s OK. I’ve heard from them but I don’t talk them every day like I am with some other colleges.”
Skinner previously indicated a lean to Florida among his top schools, but right now he doesn’t feel that close to any one program.
“I’m not saying that they are not my favorite, I’m just saying that right now I’m just open,” Skinner said. “I’m not saying I have a leading school right now. It’s open to everybody and I’m just enjoying the process. I just want to get out and visit before I make any decisions.”
Skinner said Arizona State, Texas, Oklahoma and Florida are some of the other schools that are on him the strongest at this point. He plans to go to some spring games and he said Florida likely will be one of those. He also has listed Miami, Georgia, Auburn, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Michigan, Florida State, Oregon and LSU as among his favorites.