Tennessee OL Commit Giving UM Strong Look

Michigan will embark upon its biggest official visit weekend of the season in a few days, and the biggest of the attendees… literally… will be 6-10, 295 lb. offensive tackle, Dan Skipper. The Wolverines offered the Tennessee commit last month after the Volunteers fired then coach, Derek Dooley.

If wasn’t clear the last few weeks, it is now… Michigan is determined to land at least one more lineman in its 2013 class.  The latest target to emerge on the radar is 6-10, 295 lb. offensive tackle, Dan Skipper.  The three-star lineman committed to Tennessee back in June, then went out in his senior campaign and took his game to another level.  Though pleased with his individual performance, he can’t shake the disappointment of falling short of the collective goal.

“I had a lot of fun,” said Skipper.  “I went out and played pretty well.  We just didn’t quite get it done in the playoffs when we needed to.”

Even so, there is still a great deal to be proud of.  Skipper’s strong play earned him a place in the Offense / Defense All American Bowl.  That he’ll be playing in that contest instead of lacing up his sneakers on the hardwood may come as a surprise to some, but referees’ penchant for calling him for an excessive number of fouls brought an abrupt end to his brief basketball career.

“I never really enjoyed basketball,” he explained.  “I played last year in high school and that was the only year I played in high school.  I was a little too physical (laughter).  That’s why I was always played football.”

It’s atypical to find a youngster as tall as Skipper that also possesses the athleticism, coordination, and natural bending ability to play in the trenches.  Those traits obviously caught the attention of the Michigan coaching staff.

“They came in after the coaching change (at Tennessee),” Skipper reported.  “Coach Funk came out to the school and we met with him. We got (the offer) confirmed the second time he was out before we set up the official.  I think that was a few weeks ago.”

“I like Coach Funk a lot.  He is real straightforward.”

Because Michigan is a relatively new member on Skipper’s recruiting block, he admits to not being very familiar with the Maize & Blue.  That said, he has made it a point learn as much about the Wolverines as possible through conversations with a prospective coach and a prospective teammate.

“I’m plan on finding most of it out on the official, but Coach Funk is filling me in on a little bit each time… kind of giving me a pre-text to everything,” he said.  “That way I’ve got a little bit of a clue when I get down there.”

“I’ve run into (Michigan commit, Chris Fox) a few times at photo shoots and banquets and such. I’ve talked to him a little bit about it.  I’ll be talking to him more as time goes on.”

He’ll also be talking to coaches from other the schools in the mix.  Tennessee is definitely among the programs receiving serious consideration, and the Volunteers made it to his home just last night to reiterate their desire to keep him in the fold.  At this point, though, Skipper is approaching his recruitment with an open mind.

“Right now I’m going to take visits to Michigan (this weekend) and Ole Miss for sure,” he stated.  “January 24th is the plan (for Mississippi visit), but that’s not official yet.  I’m still deciding on my final two (visits). I’m going to just see how it all plays out.  I don’t really know yet (if all four will be taken)."

“A lot of (the final decision) is going to depend on the atmosphere on the campus, the people, the players, the coaching staff… as well as it being a good academic fit.  Do they have the major that I’d like to do?  It has to be the total package and not just something I choose for 13 or 14 games a year.  I’m looking at Materials Science & Engineering.  I could also go into Civil engineering or a biology type.”

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