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Alabama Closing Ground on Penn State's Top Recruiting Class with Addition of No. 1 TE Skinner

Alabama picks up commitment of No. 1 college football tight end prospect Jaleel Skinner

Stop me if you've heard this before, but, here comes Alabama

Entering the month of October with the nation's No. 2 recruiting class, behind only Penn State, the gap has narrowed considerably over the last week. On Friday, it tangibly slimmed as the Crimson Tide picked up the verbal commitment of Jaleel Skinner

The Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy tight end announced the news via CBS Sports HQ. 

Skinner said on the Crimson Tide official visit, which took place the weekend of June 18, the entire Alabama pitch came together and it was tough for others to overcome it. 

"On the official visit my family, they really, really loved it," Skinner said on the broadcast. "We love the coaches there, we love the state and they love my family... 

"They push me to be the best and that's what I love." 

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The of the nation's No. 1-ranked tight end prospect is the 16th overall commitment for Nick Saban's program and Skinner sits as the second straight prospect to commit as the top-ranked at their position, following the September 28 pick up of No. 1 offensive tackle recruit Elijah Pritchett

Alabama's class, with the addition of the IMG Academy standout, now boasts eight prospects on the commitment list within the SI99 rankings, SI All-American's measure of the nation's best ahead of the 2021 season. The news matches Alabama with Clemson among those holding the most SI99 members on the commitment list, followed by Notre Dame (6), Ohio State (5), Georgia, Penn State, Texas and Texas A&M (4).

Skinner is originally from Greer, South Carolina, and picked UA over Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Miami and Texas on Friday. 

Penn State's top class currently sits at 26 verbal commitments, with a bit more balance in quality on offense and defense compared to Alabama's 16 prospect haul to date. 

The SI All-American measure of top classes focuses on prospect quality, premium position acquisition and filling out team needs. Obviously Alabama has more room to add to its class of 2022 than PSU, so the race for No. 1 is likely to extend beyond the Early Signing Period in December.  

SI All-American Evaluation

Built like a jumbo wide receiver more than a classic tight end, and he'll let you know about it as well. Skinner has enough speed, and certainly the stride given his elite length, to run by linebackers and even secondary players at times. A pass catcher with a basketball background, the South Carolina native is quite comfortable attacking the football at its highest point, even through traffic. Skinner is a willing blocker with skills in space, with the ability to punch and extend enough to create angles. As he adds mass and strength, each of which he has room for, he can project as more of a balanced player. Relatively polished in the route tree, Skinner has had plenty of attention at IMG Academy this fall.