Miami signs tight end Jaleel Skinner away from Alabama Crimson Tide

One of the nation’s top tight ends will compete at Miami next fall.

Third-ranked tight end recruit Jaleel Skinner overturned his commitment from the Alabama Crimson Tide to the Hurricanes on Friday — the December signing period’s last day. The 6-foot-5 receiver of Bradenton’s IMG Academy announced his official decision over social media, before UM football confirmed the signing moments after.

“First and foremost I want to say thank you to the coaches at the University of Alabama for accepting me when I committed earlier this fall I really appreciate you guys for everything you did for me and my family,” Skinner wrote in a Twitter post. “But as time went on I was able to fall back in love with the University of Miami and with the new addition of coach Cristobal that really helped me make the decision to flip my commitment from Alabama to Miami.”

Skinner, who transferred to IMG for his senior season of football, decommitted from Alabama Dec. 17 after his original verbal commitment on Oct. 8. Miami head coach Mario Cristobal and tight ends coach Stephen Field won the recruiting battle over Alabama, in addition to other Southeastern Conference schools, including Georgia and Auburn.

“I’m a believer in Coach Cristobal and I’m a believer in Coach Field,” Skinner told 247Sports. “I really appreciate Coach Field. Even when I committed to Alabama earlier in the year, he didn’t give up on me. He kept recruiting me and then when they got Coach Cristobal, that just pushed it over the edge.

“He has always stayed in my corner and always stayed in my ear. He talks to me every day,” Skinner continued.

The signing decision came as a surprise to some across college football. How Cristobal, a former offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Alabama under current Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban, managed to sign one of the most premier tight ends 10 days after his arrival proves remarkable. Cristobal and Field welcomed Skinner to Coral Gables for a second official visit last weekend, determined to continue adding pieces to the Hurricanes’ heralded position.

A former wideout with a wingspan of over 80 inches, Skinner, originally a native of Greer, South Carolina, joins current starting tight end Will Mallory and freshman Elijah Arroyo. Freshman tight end Kahlil Brantley has played in one game.

Many anticipate Mallory, who has collected the most receiving yards of his career (347) this season, to depart Miami after next year. Field and the Hurricanes’ offense can expect the possibility to start two tight ends in Arroyo and Skinner, a tactic that has involved Mallory and Arroyo this season.