As Always, James Skalski Gives Everything He’s Got at Clemson Pro Day

Thursday’s Pro Day was a big moment for all Clemson’s potential NFL Draftees but especially for those that weren’t invited to the NFL combine.

As reported, Nolan Turner was a beast, proving his value to all watching and putting himself in the best possible position to be drafted or signed as an undrafted free agent.

He deserves all the opportunities that may come from his performance. There were others but I’ve made it clear in previous articles, I’ve always believed in James Skalski. I always will. He’s one in a million in my opinion.

Clemson LB James Skalski ACC Kickoff (Courtesy of Jason Priester)

I was interested to see the how Clemson’s version of the Timex Watch (you remember, ‘takes a licking and keeps on ticking’) faired. In an interview afterward, he said he met every expectation he set for himself. The linebacker felt great about every aspect of the drills he completed.

When asked about 40 time, he stated he was just where he’d hoped, “sub 4.7 seconds.” Ever the realist, he was open about what he is facing and seeks just a chance to hear his name called, as they all do.

This event showcases the talents of potential Clemson draftees and are extremely beneficial. Skalski mentioned he had some conversations and has gotten some interest by several teams represented at the event. The Steelers sponsored a dinner to show their interest in Clemson and these ten young men and head coach Mike Tomlin has become a fixture at the yearly event.

Skalski is just one of those players that resonates with me and I’m sure a lot of others, too. He’s real, he can be raw and aggressive on the field of play, light and breezy off.

He has talent and skill that can be measured as a tool for comparison to others, the hundreds of others. He might not be the fastest, the most agile, the strongest, but like he mentioned, “I am what I am,” a player that works hard for everything he’s ever gotten.

Skalski’s like the consummate underdog, one few can ignore and even fewer can’t respect. In an unmeasured aspect of being a professional that he possesses, is sadly overlooked.

His unmeasured aspect is heart. I believe if heart was able to be measured and understood, the James Skalskis of this sport would likely be chosen in the NFL draft.

Few Tigers have ever played with more heart, grit, will and determination, than this young man. There was a photo taken after a hard fought victory in Death Valley showing two dirty, blood-stained warriors, Skalski and K.J. Henry, helping each other off the field. It’s this image, that for me, came to represent the spirit of the 2021 team. It’s one that can’t easily be forgotten.

Clemson defensive end K.J. Henry (5) checks on linebacker James Skalski(47) after he stopped Georgia Tech freshman Jordan Yates (13) short of the end zone during the fourth quarter in Clemson, S.C., September 18, 2021. (Courtesy of Ken Ruinard)

If Skalski isn’t drafted, it won’t be because of a lack of energy, a lack of determination nor a lack of effort on his part. It will never, ever be from the lack of heart, because anyone that’s ever seen him compete could ever doubt his heart, it’s massive. Good Luck 47, you deserve a chance and hopefully you’ll get it.

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