Skinner, a four-year starter at tight end, gave a verbal commitment to the University of Arkansas before his senior season.
But Coach Bobby Petrino was fired at Arkansas last season. John L. Smith took over on an interim basis, but he was replaced by former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema after the season.
“After the coaching change, I kept calling and emailing them to see what the deal was, and they never got back to me,” Skinner said. “So I asked them for my release and opened up recruiting again.”
The University of Houston kept an eye on Patterson football after landing Freshman All-American Trevon Stewart last season and offered Skinner a scholarship.
“I went for my official visit to Houston, and Trevon was my host, so I just felt comfortable there,” Skinner said. “Trevon told me how they do things there, and we will be roommates next year so he can show me things.”
Stewart, a true freshman free safety, led all freshmen nationally and was 13th regardless of class with 126 tackles. He took over as Houston’s starting free safety in the third game of the season and ended the year with 10 consecutive starts. Stewart finished second on the squad and fourth in Conference USA with his 126 stops, which was also the second-best tackle total of all defensive backs nationally.
“I would love to go out there and do what Trevon did,” Skinner said. “I want to do my very best.”
Skinner was one of Houston’s 26 signees Wednesday, the first day of the college football letter of intent signing period. The class includes 20 high school athletes, five junior college transfers and one four-year transfer.
“This is a class that we are excited about as it meets our needs in all areas. We expect each of the 26 we signed to be significant contributors during their career at Houston,” Houston head coach Tony Levine said in a press release. “I am extremely pleased with the way we were able to finish and close out our class at the end of the recruiting window.”
The state of Texas produced the most signees for the school with 13, followed by Louisiana and California with five each. Houston signed one player each from the states of Florida, Kansas and New York.
Houston opens spring practice March 4.