FORT WAYNE, Ind. – After a dominant junior season at Homestead High, imposing athlete Ben Skowronek began to hear from major Division-I programs. Last year, Skowronek hauled in 42 catches for 841 yards and 12 touchdowns in what was an impressive 2014 campaign. Since that time, Skowronek, who is committed to Northwestern, is embracing an expanded role in his team’s operations this year.
“It’s been going great,” Skowronek told Today’s U. “This is kind of the first year of high school that I’ve been involved in special teams heavily with returning kicks and returning punts and kick coverage team. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve been playing tight end, receiver, slot, and a number of positions on the field, so it’s been fun so far.
“We have had our ups and downs, but we are kind of going in the right direction now and looking to get hot right before the playoffs start.”
Listed at 6’4” and 210-pounds, Skowronek has tacked on some additional size to his large frame and is moving well this season. Skowronek shows added force at the point of attack when laying blocks in addition to softer hands and better body control in the passing game.
“I’m a big, physical receiver,” Skowronek said. “I’m not afraid of contact and I enjoy blocking.”
With offers from over 10 programs including Boston College, Indiana, Iowa, N.C. State, Purdue and others, Skowronek had quite a few programs to choose from. In the end, Skowronek said the Wildcats offered him as a receiver, which is a line evenly divided in terms of interested schools.
“[Northwestern] offered me as a receiver,” Skowronek said. “It’s kind of 50-50, I’d say. A couple Big Ten schools wanted me as tight end, a couple wanted me as receiver and there’s also a couple schools that wanted me as both. You know, being able to be split out as a tight end or receiver. I would say it was 50-50 because some schools wanted me as a receiver and some as a tight end.”
As a prospect with a handful of offers at his disposal, Skowronek, who is rated as a 3-star prospect by 247Sports.com, knew early on where he would be playing his collegiate football.
“Northwestern was the only school I’ve talked to since I committed back in June,” Skowronek said. “That’s where I’m going and there’s really no other school that I’m interested in or that I’ve talked to.”
Skowronek recently took a trip up to Ann Arbor to watch Northwestern battle against Michigan, an effort in which the Wildcats came up short. Despite Northwestern’s falter, Skowronek has developed a strong relationship with the staff so far.
“I was talking to their coaches a lot over Twitter and I went up for a visit during the season,” Skowronek said. “I kind of knew in the back of my mind that’s where I wanted to go. Then in the spring they invited me back up for a more formal visit. They showed me around and coach [Pat] Fitzgerald offered me on that visit in the spring. I kind of knew that was where I was going to end up.”
Skowronek broke down exactly why he felt that Northwestern was the right school, a decision that focused primarily around the scholastic advantages of the school.
“First off, their academics stood out from almost every other school that offered me,” Skowronek said. “They have a great business school and business is what I’m interested in pursuing. Also, the family feel around the program… all of the coaches have been there since 2012, so they’ve had the same staff and that was a really big thing for me. There’s coaching stability there, then the fit with the players. I was able so stay the night with some of the guys over the spring and the summer and I have a cousin on the team, so I really like a lot of the players and that was really big for me as well.”
Click here to watch Skowronek’s midseason highlight tape.