Class of 2022 prospect Jaleel Skinner enters the fall as a name atop the recruiting board of some of the strongest programs in the country. The tight end/wide receiver recently named his top five, which includes Florida State, Alabama, Clemson, Miami and Texas.
The South Carolina native has spent the first three years of his high school career at Greer (S.C.) High School but transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., for his senior season. Skinner spoke on the transition to IMG and the cause of his transfer after a season-opening win against American Heritage on Friday night.
“I came to IMG because I want to be great,” said Skinner. “I want to be a great football player. I love Greer and I still talk to people at Greer every day. I talk to the coaches and the players there, and they understand my decision to come to IMG. I’m chasing greatness. I don’t want to go to college and have something new jump up.
“(IMG) is pretty much college in high school, so you have to be prepared,” continued Skinner. “There’s nobody calling to wake you up in the morning.”
Skinner is considered the best tight end prospect in the country, and the No. 74 prospect overall in his class. However, Florida State is recruiting him as a wide receiver, which Skinner said he liked.
“They are approaching me in a different way than everybody else,” said Skinner.
Skinner, who is 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, lined up at both tight end and wide receiver last season at Greer, but is now listed as a WR on IMG’s roster and solely played in the slot on Friday. He is also catching passes from FSU QB commit AJ Duffy, who Skinner has built a friendship with over the past few months.
“(Duffy) and I have been cool for a little while now,” said Skinner. “That ‘22 class for Florida State… it’s going to be crazy once they all get there.”
The entire month of August has been a dead period and, when recruiting opens back up in September, Tallahassee is Skinner’s first destination. The four-star talent will make his official visit to Florida State on Sept. 5 for the season opener against Notre Dame. He spoke on what he expects to see out of the Seminoles on that Sunday night.
“I’m expecting to see some younger receivers go out there and have a nice game,” said Skinner. “Coach (Kenny) Dillingham was telling me he’s going to go and air it out, and I’m ready to see it.”
Skinner has already taken official visits to Alabama (June 18), Texas (June 21) and Miami (June 25). He intends to allocate his fifth and final official visit to Clemson but has not scheduled a date. Skinner said he hopes to visit for the Tigers’ matchup against Boston College in Death Valley on Oct. 2, but it is difficult given IMG’s complicated and busy schedule. Skinner noted he will most likely be available that weekend due to a bye week in IMG’s schedule.
Skinner also mentioned his relationship with coach Mike Norvell as well as the other assistant coaches who contact Skinner.
“Me and Coach Norvell are tight,” said Skinner. “He understands that I am very busy and understands that I have a lot going on in my life. I try to talk to (the FSU staff) as much as possible. They are all good people over there, but they understand how busy we are at IMG and expect that I don’t have a lot of time.”
Skinner said he does not consider any of the schools in his top five to be a leader, but he did elaborate on what stands out about the Seminoles in his recruitment.
“(FSU) has been my dream school since I was young,” said Skinner. “That’s always been my dream school, but one thing that has always stood out to me is the fans. They all have that brotherhood thing going there. That always stood out to me.”