[Vandal] Moscow’s Skinner Inks With Vandals

robiegruss at aol.com robiegruss at aol.com
Fri Feb 5 11:54:53 PST 2021

>From the Daily NewsMoscow, IdahoFriday, February 5, 2021
Moscow’s Skinner Inks With Vandals
Lineman to play at Idaho, which adds pair of Idahoans
By Donn Walden
It might have been an epiphany for Tyler Skinner. During the summer after his sophomore season, Moscow football coach Phil Helbling pulled Skinner into his office and bottom-lined it for the youngster.
The coach was spot on.
Skinner’s dream of playing Division I college football came true Wednesday, as he signed a national letter of intent to continue his career at the University of Idaho.
“It was one of about 15 meetings we had,” Skinner said during a virtual signing event. “He knew that I loved basketball, but he kept telling me that football was the sport for me.”
Skinner, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound offensive and defensive lineman, helped the Bears to a playoff berth for the second consecutive season. Blocking for quarterback Chad Redinger, Skinner was pivotal in Moscow finishing the year with a 4-2 record, a second-place finish in the Inland Empire League Class 4A standings, and a 45-7 first-round playoff victory at Jerome. That win is thought to be the first time in more than 20 years Moscow had earned a postseason triumph.
“I’ve had the pleasure of coaching Tyler the past four years, and he’s a great kid,” Helbling said. “I think it speaks volumes to how he was raised. Yes, he’s got a gift and yes, he’s got great size. He’s got all the intangibles, and he’s worked extremely hard. He was a late bloomer. It was just a process.”
Skinner was a second-team Class 4A All-Idaho honoree this year. On top of that, he’s a starter on the basketball team and plays lacrosse.
“I think a big reason why he’s been so successful is his familiarity with playing basketball,” Helbling said. “He’s got great ability to move and he’s got great footwork. The sky is the limit for him.”
Idaho coach Paul Petrino was impressed with Skinner’s upside.
“Tyler is big and athletic,” Petrino said. “I think he’s really going to grow into a really, really good offensive lineman. And anytime you can get somebody from right here in your backyard, that’s always a good thing.”
Skinner has a 4.0 grade-point average and is a member of the National Honor Society and Business Professionals of America. After serving a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he will join the football program and currently is planning to major in pre-physical therapy. He’s also the grandson of former Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival director Lynn “Doc” Skinner.Skinner thanked the Moscow and Idaho coaching staffs, friends and family, and all the people who have supported him the past several years for helping to make this opportunity happen. Around 40 people attended the virtual signing.
It also is thought that this is the first time in school history Moscow has had two players sign to play for Division I schools in the same year. Jonah Elliss, a tight end who has deep ties to the Idaho program, announced just before the football season he would play for the University of Utah. He signed with the Utes on Dec. 16.
Skinner wasn’t the only player Idaho signed, and not the only one from the Gem State.
Linebacker Brett Tommasini also sent in his letter of intent. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder led Eagle High School to the second round of the Class 5A playoffs this year. He was the Southern Idaho Conference West defensive player of the year and was a first-team All-Idaho honoree. His brother, Derek, is a freshman linebacker with the Vandals.
Completing the class with two kids from Idaho is something Petrino took some pride in.
“Anytime you can do that, I think it really helps your program,” the eighth-year coach said. “It helps the interest of the fans, it helps guys who grow up wanting to be Vandals and wanting to play here, I think that’s a great thing.”
The total number of signees in the class is 14, including the 12 committments the school received in December.
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