Apparently the committee to select the players to participate in the Big 33 game were spooked enough by the knee injury to Jon Skinner of Mount Carmel Area High School that he suffered in his junior year that they originally left him off the Pennsylvania roster. But his knee is fine and he was added to the team in May, so Skinner is just excited for the opportunity to play in the all-star game now.
"I had surgery after my junior year but it's good to go now. It's 100 percent and I'll be ready to go this year up at Ohio State," said Skinner who tore his ACL in the third game of the year and came back in time to finish that year. "I went through last year with no other injuries or anything like that and it just felt good."
Ironically, Skinner first met his special needs buddy for the Big 33 game when he was rehabbing his knee injury and the two have had an ongoing relationship.
"I've known him for some time now and I knew he was going to be my buddy," Skinner said. "I really love being around kids like him. I got to experience some of that when I had to rehab my knee. It makes you happy to be around him and at the same time it makes you realize how fortunate you are to play in a game like this."
Prior to coming to the Big 33 camp, Skinner spent a week working out in Columbus with some of his Pennsylvania teammates who will also be his future Buckeye teammates.
"I was up at Ohio State for a week working out," he said. "It was good to meet a bunch of the guys and get used to the workouts just to get acclimated and everything. I knew a couple of the Ohio (All-Star) players going in but I got to meet some of the guys that were already on the team, a couple of the older guys, the veterans."
He'll be lining up against some of those same Ohio guys he was working out with when he was in Columbus.
"It will be a lot of fun going against them because they're going to be my teammates in couple of weeks," Skinner said. "It will be fun working hard against them and getting to battle them during the game."
Jon Skinner with his buddy
Skinner is slated to line up at left tackle for the game, next to Kyle Mitchum at left guard.
"It's good to be working together with each other so we'll be able to work together again back at Ohio State when we go out there. So it's been a good week for us to get used to working with each other," said Skinner who had met Mitchum previous to this summer. "We both took our official visits to Ohio State at the same time, so we got to hang out there for a little bit, and he was at a couple of the games that I was at so we knew each other a little bit before we got here."
And at times Rory Nicol at tight end will flank Skinner on the left give the Pa. offense a definite Ohio State flavor.
"Yeah there will be times during the game that all three of us will be playing there together," he said. "So that will be pretty neat doing that."
Like the other three future Buckeyes on the Pennsylvania roster, Skinner couldn't be happier about going to Ohio State.
"It's just great. It's a real great program and it's good football and everything," he said. "It's just real great to go out there and be able to play for them."
The entire experience of being involved with the Big 33 has also been great for Skinner.
"It's been a great week and we had a lot of fun out here," he said. "You get to meet a bunch of the great guys and have some good competition against a lot of good players and get in some good work before we have to go to camp in a couple of weeks"
Of course, a victory in the Big 33 game is important for Skinner, being in the minority with his three other Keystone teammates when they get to Ohio State.
"It's an honor to be selected to play in this game, but we really want to go out there and win because when we're at Ohio State they'll be able to have something on us for those four years if they beat us," he said. "So we've got to get them Saturday and come out with a win."