Northwestern Wildcats Football Team VS. Ohio State Buckeyes: One of the most important and prestigious positions in all sports is the left hand tackle. Their job is to secure their team’s most precious commodity, the quarterback, and the future.
It is considered the ‘blind side’ of the vision of the quarterback. The left tackle, their blind spot, defends the quarterback from defenders they won’t see coming. The real freshman left tackle standout, Peter Skoronski, has risen to the challenge, and his performance was pivotal to the success of the Northwestern Wildcats Football team this season.
Skoronksi, identified as a 6-foot-4, 275 pound offensive lineman, played football in the suburbs of Chicago at Maine South High School. Not too far from Evanston, he was raised and he grew up a fan of the Northwestern Wildcats.
“It was really awesome and special for me and my family to be able to represent purple on Saturday,” Skoronski said. “These are times that I will never forget about.”
Skoronski comes from a long line of excellence, but many fans are now learning of his prowess. His grandfather, Bob Skoronski, was the captain of the five NFL Green Bay Packers Championship teams under the legendary Vince Lombardi.
On May 19, 2019, while turning down deals from top football programs including Notre Dame, Stanford, Penn State and Michigan, Peter Skoronski verbally committed to Northwestern Wildcats Football team. Skoronski was the second-best prospect outside of Illinois, according to 247Sports, and fourth nationally at his place. Through his determination, he became the best offensive line in the history of the Northwestern Wildcats program and the fourth top prospect in the age of Pat Fitzgerald.
Committed! pic.twitter.com/jtjOXo6dA4— Peter Skoronski (@PSkoronski) May 4, 2019
In January, Skoronski was able to join Northwestern and told 247 Sports: “I just love the mix of academics and athletics.” I guess it just turns out they had the best graduation rate for any school in any sport. They’re a fine football team as well. Last year, they were in the Big Ten Championship and won three-straight bowl games…. It’s just a place where I think I fit in well and I’m just glad to be able to go there As a person and a player, it’s a nice place for me.
When he arrived at Evanston, he felt a little behind, like most of the freshmen. But from day one, his maturity, planning, strength and intellect inspired Skoronski. He connected with offensive line trainer Kurt Anderson during the quarantine earlier this year to work through some of the offense.
Skoronski said, “[Coach Anderson] walked me through the crime and that really helped me a lot.” “I already knew a lot once I got to campus and was prepared and able to contribute instead of starting fresh.”
As he prepared for the inevitable possibility, when on Aug. 20, Northwestern’s best offensive lineman in the nation and possible first-round pick Rashawn Slater opted out of the season to brace for the upcoming NFL draft, he unexpectedly got a lot more focus. This left the offensive line with an immense void, and sports commentators and viewers were able to write off Northwestern and suffer another miserable season.
As a result, to replace Slater, Skoronski was quickly tossed into the flames and shone, guarding Peyton Ramsey’s graduate transfer quarterback and making the offense click for the first time in years.
While he might not physically be with the band, during his first year playing in the Big Ten Conference, Slater was a solid help for Skoronski.
“If I said it was easy, I’d be lying. I mean, it’s Big Ten football,” Skoronski said. “For me, Rashawn was a very cool resource. Over the summer, we met and shared a few sessions together. He also encourages and texts me tips, even with him gone, asking me what I should do differently. Obviously, because he’s one of the best lineman in the world, he’s been very nice and useful, and while he’s gone, I feel very fortunate to have him as a partner.
Slater was the last offensive lineman to start for Northwestern as a true freshman until Skoronski. Though he may have been young, on the left side of the line, Skoronski looked like a veteran. Collectively, with the help of the young freshmen, the offensive line has become a strong point of Northwestern’s offense.
Skoronski set an unofficial state record of 171 career pancakes at high school, and he kept racking them up at college, impressing both his teammates and coaches. He has flashed his first-round talent during the season and has done an excellent job of defending the blind side of Ramsey.
On Nov. 30, speaking with the media, Pat Fitzgerald called Peter Skoronski the week’s offensive player.
“As a true rookie, he was simply fantastic. I don’t believe I’ve talked enough about him coming to the Big Ten as a rookie and playing the left tackle the way he has,” said Fitzgerald. “Honestly, we should have called him the week’s player a few times this year already. We’re very proud of Peter.
Highest-graded offensive linemen in WK15— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 14, 2020
1. Peter Skoronski, NW – 91.4
2. Jamaree Salyer, Georgia – 84.0
3. Christian Darrisaw, VA Tech – 82.5
4. Esteban Avila, TCU – 79.9
5. Alex Leatherwood, Alabama – 79.3 pic.twitter.com/SdLstX5f2d
The rest of the Top Ten have drew Skoronski’s interest and was named third-team All Big Ten just this week But, for Skoronski, the honor is nothing compared to this weekend’s chance to win the conference in Indianapolis.
“Winning the Big Ten Championship is the ultimate objective, and that’s where my mind is focused,” Skoronski said.
The Northwestern Wildcats will face off with the Ohio State Buckeyes this Saturday in the Big Ten Championship for the second time in three years, and Skoronski is more than ready for the biggest game of his career.
Big Ten Conference:
🚨 #B1GFootball Fans 🚨— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) December 19, 2020
The wait is over! Are you ready for football? It's time for kickoff!
Let the countdown begin and let's crown a #B1G Champion!
📺 Tune in to #B1GFCG on @FOXSports NOW! pic.twitter.com/W1LG5V6q0m
The Big Ten Conference is the United States’ oldest collegiate athletic conference in Division I. It has its offices in Rosemont, Illinois. This conference has composed of 10 universities for over eight decades, and currently has 14 members and two associate organizations.
#Northwestern is currently trending on Twitter.