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Northwestern football signing day profiles 2016: WR Ben Skowronek

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The wide receiver chose Northwestern over Iowa and NC State as well as in-state Indiana and Purdue.

Photo: Student Sports

QUICK HITS

POSITION: Wide receiver
HEIGHT: 6-3
WEIGHT: 195
HOMETOWN: Fort Wayne, Indiana
HIGH SCHOOL: Homestead
247 COMPOSITE RATING: ★★★ (.8528)
NATIONAL RANK: 782
POSITION RANK: 117
STATE RANK: 11
OTHER OFFERS: Boston College, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Miami (OH), N.C. State, Ohio, Purdue, Toledo, Western Michigan
MORE: 247 Profile | Hudl | Twitter

BACKGROUND

Skowronek was Northwestern's first wide receiver commit in the class of 2016 and brings size and athleticism to a position that has been a weak one for the Wildcats in recent seasons. Pat Fitzgerald plucked him out of talent-rich Fort Wayne — which produced fellow commit Aidan Smith as well — away from both Indiana and Purdue as well as power conference recruiting foes Iowa, Boston College and NC State.

Skowronek's cousin, T.J. Green, is a freshman walk-on for Northwestern and could have been an influence in the 6-foot-3 target's decision. The Wildcats were actually a little late in the recruiting game on him, as they didn't offer him a scholarship until this past April. By then, Skowronek already had multiple offers from power conference schools but only took one more unofficial visit (to Iowa) after Northwestern offered before committing in June.

As the highlight video from his senior season shows, Skowronek has undeniable speed and athleticism that will be welcome traits to the Wildcats' thin receivers corps. He will be one of Northwestern's bigger receivers at 6-foot-3 and has the ability to use his size to get good position over smaller defensive backs. Skowronek also played basketball in high school which is always nice for taller pass targets.

OUTLOOK

With Dan Vitale, Christian Jones, Miles Shuler, Cameron Dickerson and others graduating, Northwestern is losing a lot of key receivers this offseason, so there's a chance Skowronek gets playing time in his true freshman season. Flynn Nagel and superback Jayme Taylor will be back from injury, though, and guys such as Austin Carr, Jelani Roberts and superback Garrett Dickerson will likely see increased targets, but there's room for Skowronek to potentially make an early impact.

His skill set probably puts him outside, rather than in the slot, where Northwestern especially struggled to find production in the 2015 season. Skowronek has the ability to beat the defense over the top and could be a nice option for Clayton Thorson, who desperately needs down-the-field options.