Skelton Ranked in Top 12 for Senior Quarterbacks


Published: August 27, 2009

Despite a disappointing 1-5 Patriot League record in 2008 and a rash of injuries to the receiving core that left him tossing touchdown passes to the backup quarterback, John Skelton, FCRH ’10, will start the 2009 season facing high expectations and increased national attention.

Skelton’s record-breaking right arm has attracted the attention of scouts and set expectations high. (Courtesy of Fordham Sports)

The 6’5” quarterback from El Paso, Tex. will quickly capture the few school passing records he does not already own, and this summer, Gil Brandt of ranked Skelton as the number nine senior quarterback prospect in the country, adding the Ram’s name to a list that includes Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy.

“It was exciting,” Skelton said. “There’s a lot of big names on there. Seeing my name on there was a little surprising. But at the same time, it’s the culmination of all the hard work I put in.”

To those who have seen Skelton run the offense at Fordham, the high expectations heading into his senior season were not surprising.

“I kind of expected it,” said head coach Tom Masella. “He has the size [scouts] are looking for, he has the arm strength. But all that means very little until he goes out and has a great senior year. And we’re all hoping he has a great senior year because that bodes well for Fordham football.”

But seeing Skelton’s name as the only non-scholarship player among next year’s first and second round NFL draft picks came as a surprise even to one of his favorite targets.

“Because of the division level that we play in, (NCAA Football Championship Subdivision) I was a little surprised that he was picked in the top 10,” said Asa Lucas, FCRH ’10, who caught 36 balls for 449 yards and three touchdowns in an injury-shortened 2008 season. “But I knew John was going to be a special quarterback the summer we met. John works very hard at learning the ins and outs of the position whether it be technique, reading defenses, or working with the backs and receivers to improve chemisty.”

Skelton completed 228 of 372 passes last season for 2,605 yards, throwing 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His 2008 total for completions was good for fourth on the Fordham all-time single season list, while his 2,605 passing yards ranked sixth. Last season’s performance is all the more impressive considering Skelton was throwing to a receiving core decimated by injury. He spread the ball around to 18 different targets, completing touchdown passes to 11 of them, including one to Clayton Busch, his backup quarterback.  He also broke the school record for career passing yards with 6,215 and tied the record for completions with 518. His 43 touchdown passes are just two shy of the record.

Coming off a 5-6 season, the Rams are “hungry” this year, according to Skelton.

“Last year we had a target on our back, everyone expected us to win the Patriot League title. This year it’s the reverse, where no one expects anything of us. There’s a lot riding on this season,” Skelton said.

There’s a lot riding on Skelton’s right arm, too, and if the senior can live up to the expectations, there’s no reason the Rams won’t surprise their Patriot League opponents.