Nittany Lions Eyeing Big DT/OL

The Nittany Lions are very interested in this lineman. "They've been contacting me the last couple of weeks because I went to the Indiana game down there on an unofficial." Is PSU interested enough to have offered? Is there a chance this DT/OL prospect could be a part of this recruiting class?

Name: Mike Sklarosky
Position: DT, OL
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 286 pounds
School: Lackawanna College, Scranton, PA

Lackawanna College, formerly Lackawanna Junior College, in Scranton, PA has been a hotbed of junior college talent over the last ten years.  Under coach Mark Duda, the Falcons have sent a host of players to schools like Maryland, Rutgers, West Virginia, Syracuse, Florida, and Miami (FL)--namely All-American and first round pick, Bryant McKinnie.  This year the Falcons' coaching staff hopes to send more players on to Division 1 schools, including Mike Sklarosky, a 6'4'', 286 pound defensive lineman.

Coming off a season in which he recorded 37 solo tackles, 25 assists, 7 sacks, 2 fumbles recoveries and an interception, Mike has received varying levels of interest from Syracuse, Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina State, Maryland, and Penn State. Mike will graduate in December meaning he will enroll in January at the university he ultimately selects.  At that time, Mike will have three years to complete his final two years of college eligibility.

Currently, Mike has received offers from Kentucky, Syracuse, and Indiana--although he is not giving the Hoosiers much consideration.  Has he taken any official visits?

"This past weekend I took an official to the Kentucky-Tennessee game.  And Friday (12/5), I'm taking an official up to Syracuse," said Mike, who admitted he wanted to play on the defensive side of the football.  Both Kentucky and Syracuse want him at defensive tackle, while Penn State, North Carolina State, and Maryland all feel he should be at guard or center.

Did Mike like what Kentucky had to offer?

"It went pretty well.  I thought they had really nice facilities down there."

Penn State, a school notorious for its hesitance toward junior college players, seems an unusual suitor for Mike's services.  What have the Nittany Lions told him?

"Penn State called me today (Tuesday 12/3) but we didn't talk.  (Offensive Line) Coach (Dick) Anderson called me and left me a message.  They're waiting [on offering].  They've been contacting me the last couple of weeks because I went to the Indiana game down there on an unofficial," said Mike.  "If Penn State offered, I would definitely consider them, even though I don't want to move over from the defensive side."

"(Coach Anderson) says that (Penn State's) looking at you and you're in the running for a scholarship."

Although Mike hails from a Northeastern Pennsylvania, a region with traditionally strong Nittany Lion roots, he grew up a fan of Notre Dame.  This weekend, Mike will travel to Syracuse to watch the Orangemen try to become bowl eligible by beating his Fighting Irish.  Although it appears like a conflict of interest, Mike will have his attention focused on the Syracuse program, especially with decision day nearing fast.

Will Mike take any more visits after he returns from Syracuse?

"I'm not sure yet," Mike admitted candidly.  "Coach Duda told me the most I'd probably get in is three because I'm a mid-year transfer.  I only have a couple days left to look at schools because I'm going to transfer to the next school for the next semester."

"Coach Duda says that when some schools call, he's been saying its down to two because I don't have time to go see other schools."

Could Mike make arrangements to squeeze any school in if they came forward with a final hour scholarship offer?

"I don't know.  Maybe if Penn State offers, maybe I'll visit there.  That's probably about it."

Does Mike hope to have his mind made soon after his return from his final planned visit?

"Within the next couple days after I get back from Syracuse unless something else pops up," stated Mike, who has already made one trip to see the 'Cuse play this fall.  "I've been up there already.  I watched them play BC (Boston College) up there.  It's nice up there.  I liked the Carrier Dome."

Could he be leaning one way?

"Maybe Syracuse a little bit because it's closer [to home] and my family would be able to come see me play.  But I don't know, because on a message board, it said they may be firing (Paul) Pasqualoni," admitted an unsure Sklarosky.

(Interview by Steve Curry)

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