Skalski excited about future at Clemson

One of Clemson's early commitments for 2016 can't wait to step foot on campus.

LB James Skalski Profile

The 2014 football season was a year of change for the Clemson Tigers. Having lost a lot of the previous season's offensive stars, the Tigers needed to rely heavily on Brent Venables' defense. Led by an experienced and talented group of seniors, Venables directed the nation's top rated defense in terms of yards per game.

Now, having lost so many important pieces, the Clemson coaching staff is looking to maintain the depth that was such a vital piece of the country's number one unit.

Three-star Northgate junior linebacker James Skalski (Newnan, GA) decided to pledge his commitment to Clemson on National Signing Day for the class of 2016.

"I was at junior day the Saturday before signing day and felt like committing, but I decided to sleep on it," said Skalski in a recent interview with CUTigers. "My birthday was the next week, but I decided to wait. It just felt right on signing day, and I wanted to get it done."

In his visit to Clemson, Venables left an impression on Skalski.

"I like the intensity Coach Venables takes through everything. He wants perfection," the linebacker said. "The culture that Dabo Swinney and Brent Venables bring shows that being a student-athlete is the number one thing. Only a certain few get to play in the NFL, so that is important to remember."

Skalski understands it will be difficult to take football beyond college to the next level. Because of this, he makes sure to watch the pros at his same position to hone his skills. "I'm a huge fan of the way Ray Lewis played! I like Patrick Willis, too. They are such good leaders," said Skalski.

The rising senior may have one more year of high school left, but he plans on being back at Clemson soon. "I will probably be back at another camp in the summer. I don't have a specific date yet, but I want to do that for sure," he said.

As a linebacker, Skalski sees a lot of good characteristics he carries onto the field. "I'm a smart football player, and I have good anticipation." he continued saying, "Coach Venables likes my quickness and explosiveness. He says I have good attacking speed and am good from side-to-side."

Skalski stands at 6-foot-1 and 223 pounds and spoke highly of his junior season despite a setback. "I played the first few games. Then I broke my thumb on my right hand and missed a few games. I came back and actually played better than before the injury," he said. Skalski finished his junior season with 78 tackles and three sacks.

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