Skyler Schofner was ready for football practice to begin â€” eager, in fact, to put the wheels in motion for his senior season at Big Walnut High School in central Ohio. He’s been working out through the summer, in the stifling heat of farm fields and the in the clanking confines of weight rooms. But even with the attitude of an optimist, two-a-days are always a challenge.
“You have to accept the fact that you have to get in game shape,” Schofner told Spartan Nation after his third day back on the gridiron. “Just the fact that if you want to be the best, you’ll work at it, so we’re all doing good.”
After half a week, the team is neck-deep into the playbook, and although they’re not in full pads yet, the desire to go full throttle is already there. For Schofner, who’s brand new at Big Walnut, the fact that he’s meshing well both off and on the field with his new teammates is a big bonus. “I feel like I’ve been here my whole life,” he said. “They (teammates) have welcomed me in and they’re accepting me.”
Recruiting wise, Schofner, who is still drawing intense interest from Michigan State and a handful of other major programs â€” UCLA, West Virginia and Ohio State to name a few â€” remains in the same place he was in a month ago: his focus is on building a championship caliber team for his senior season, improving his skills and game as an offensive tackle and making sure when he does make a decision, it’s the right fit.
“I’m not worried about it right now,” Schofner said, explaining his attitude toward the unavoidable increase in pressure that comes when teams he is interested in land more and more verbals. “I know what I want to do, so right now it’s going good.” Unlike Coach Mark Dantonio and the MSU program, some schools attempt to put conditionals on visits, telling Schofner and other recruits a visit isnâ€™t really wanted without a commitment.
Maybe that’s why MSU remains a team at the top of Schofner’s list. But for now, Schofner says he’s been blessed with the opportunity to evaluate amongst several scholarship offers, an enviable position that allows a young man to step back and make the very best decision he can make, for himself and his future school. “I’m very thankful for what I have and I’m working very hard right now,” he said.
As for the here and now: “Day by day, practice hard, we have to start there first,” Schofner said, adding he’d like to get some time in on the defensive line, for the fun of it but mostly to help his team if needed. “I’m in the best shape of my life. I want to play both ways this year, I want to have 100 tackles and 30 sacks, a bunch of pancakes (at O-tackle), and I want to win every game by 21.”
The 6-foot-7, 300 pounder benches 380 pounds, dead lifts over 600 and squats 555 pounds. The numbers arenâ€™t that important to Schofner, but the results clearly are.
“I’m ready,” Schofner said. “I’m going to keep my grades up and everything, ready for this fall and I’m ready to get on it. We’re going all the way.”