After Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune reported last week that Bennett Skowronek would pursue a pro career, potentially forgoing his fifth year of eligibility, it now seems that the graduating Wildcat wide receiver is exploring his collegiate options after all.
So we have an update ...— Teddy Greenstein (@TeddyGreenstein) December 2, 2019
*Ben met with Fitz last week, went well
*Feedback from NFL is that Ben needs more tape, league uncertain if he's a WR or a hybrid WR/TE
*source: 50-50 he returns to NU vs. transferring https://t.co/WFXhd1dNEI
The 2019 team captain played in just three games last season before a lower leg injury sustained against Michigan State held him out for the rest of the season. He still managed to put up 12 catches for 141 yards in that timespan, bringing his career totals to 110 grabs for 1417 yards and eight touchdowns in 43 games (he had not missed a game until this season) and making him the team’s fourth-leading receiver in 2019, behind Riley Lees, Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman, and JJ Jefferson.
Because Skowronek played in the requisite four or fewer games, he would not need to apply for a medical redshirt, earning a regular one on the basis of his injury. The Fort Wayne, Indiana native walked on Senior Day, and would either be a grad transfer to any team looking to add him (and many teams should be), or just a redshirt senior if he returns to Evanston.
Charlie Fessler grad transferred to Richmond last season in a slightly similar situation eligibility-wise, though Fessler’s move was likely more playing time-related. Indeed, in his lone season with the FCS Spiders, the former Wildcat put up well over 1,000 yards receiving as his quarterback’s favorite target.
In his article a week ago (which has now been updated via the above tweet), Greenstein did mention that TJ Green, Skowronek’s cousin, was still weighing his options. It will be interesting to see if the two end up following the same path.
If this truly is the end of Skowronek’s time at Northwestern, the 6’4” receiver will be remembered fondly by fans. He made big plays in clutch moments throughout his career, but everybody involved with the program’s first point of reference when it comes to his career will always be the highlight reel, game-winning catch against Iowa to seal last year’s Big Ten Championship berth, a play that will go down in history as arguably the best and almost certainly the most important catch in Northwestern history.
Without Skowronek, the Wildcats may well have failed to put the finishing touches on last season’s miracle run. For that, even with a shortened senior season and a potential transfer on the horizon, he should go down as a Northwestern legend.
But if he comes back next season, a Wildcat wide receiver corps that largely struggled this year would add a potentially crucial, seasoned option on the outside. We will keep you posted on the situation as we learn more.