A hand injury sidelined L’Den Skinner in 2018. His rehab went smoothly and he’s looking to have a stellar 2019 season for the Mayde Creek Rams of Houston, Texas.
“I’ve learned that sometimes setbacks are ways for you to get stronger. It’s like after the injury my game took off. Also, you have to be mentally strong. That way you bounce back faster and stronger. You can’t give up no matter the odds,” he said.
L’Den Skinner started playing football in the seventh grade because a lot of his friends did. He knew that he had the potential to go far in football as an eighth-grader thanks to Mayde Creek Junior High Football Coach Korey Byrd.
“[My] first impression was [I saw] his raw athletic ability and willingness to take coaching. He wasn’t quite a wide receiver yet, he had all [the intangibles] but needed a little guidance on what the position entailed and how to make the most of his abilities at the position. To this day, when I give him tips and advice, he’s attentive and receptive,” he said.
Byrd remembers a big play Skinner made his eighth-grade year about four games into the season.
“…We’d been working on the seam route and begging our coordinator to let it fly with L’Den. He finally asked me what to run, and sure enough, the first pass play called L’Den brought it in for a touchdown. [He] didn’t have a single target all season, and flat out burned the safety.”
Byrd thought that Skinner was extremely bright, respectful and had charisma. Moreover, the two shared a love for God. Skinner was a sponsor for Byrd in the Fellowship for the Christian Athletes club. Together, they tackled topics such as life, the pursuit of Christ and how to be a competitor .
“L’Den was going to be successful in whatever he was because of the kid he is. The athletic ability is just a bonus. He’s a good kid, one every coach prays for,” Byrd said about Skinner’s talent in the present day.
The person who has had the biggest impact on Skinner off the field and in life is his mother.
“The best impact on my life has to be my mom. Growing up, only having a mom seemed easy because of her. She showed me how to grow up and be a real man. She means the world to me and she’s also the reason I strive for success in anything I do,” Skinner said.
The hardest thing that he’s had to overcome is watching her struggle to keep his hopes and dreams alive.
“I did grow up in Houston and growing up here has played a big part in my life. I probably never would’ve started playing football because my mom was never a fan. It’s so big in Texas so she had to let me play sooner or later. This city means a lot. It’s so fast-paced, and it just has that grind vibe to it. I love it.”
The 5’11, 179 pound, wide receiver has high interest in Texas A&M, Texas, LSU and TCU.
“During visits, I [will] pay attention to the team bonding and the atmosphere [created by] the coaches and players. I come from a school where we’re a brotherhood and its more than just football. That’s what I’m looking for when I go visit schools. Also, I’m looking for what school can do the most for my football career focusing on the skills of my game,” he said.
He may look to study engineering because he has always wanted to be an electrical engineer or psychologist, because he’s fascinated with how the brain operates.
“I believe physicality is one part of my game that’s hard to be matched by any other receiver and also my route running. I like to think of myself as a shifty route runner, but I know I can get better,” Skinner said.
He added that he needs to work on his ball carrier vision and decision making after the catch. He feels like improving on those aspects of his game will take him to the next level.
Looking at him on film, L’Den Skinner does a great job of blocking from the wide receiver position which will carry him a long way if he continues to be an asset in the running game. He also has the speed and elusiveness that you like to see from a receiver.
“My junior season I want to have an eye-opening season stat wise and have some flashy highlights to get attention. I just want to shine above all competition and prove what I couldn’t my sophomore year. You could say I’m playing with a chip on my shoulder.”