Monday, December 10, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 40

Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week

The following article was posted on November 8th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 36 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 36

Ryheem Skinner


Allan Hancock College's star running back, Ryheem Skinner, hails from the tiny town of Clinton, North Carolina, a rural community of 8,000 residents.

He came a long way to lead his California junior college football team to its best season in nearly 20 years.

The freshman ran for 144 yards and three touchdowns in a crucial Oct. 28 win over L.A. Pierce, 44-34, to give Hancock a 3-0 record in the American Pacific League and a 6-2 overall record. Skinner earned himself "Player of the Week" league honors for the performance, and as a result, the Bulldogs are ranked 23rd in the state and in the hunt for its first league title since 2000.


Skinner leads the team in total rushing yards (at 6.7 yards per carry) and touchdowns (seven), even though he's one of four freshmen receiving extensive carries at that position. He told the Sun in a recent interview that the backs rotate in for touches, which keeps everybody fresh.

"When the other team is tired, we're going full throttle," Skinner said. "We basically just run right at the defense. Most of [the run plays] are through the middle, and we just pound it and pound it."

The Bulldogs' success with the rush is evident in the statistics: They're averaging a whopping 244 rushing yards per contest. Skinner said he's even surprised himself with what he and the team has been able to accomplish thus far.

"When we first started I was a little skeptical of how good we could be," he said. "But everybody started dialing in. I knew if we kept working in practice we could start having that success."

Skinner credited the Hancock coaching staff for placing a strong emphasis on conditioning and fitness. He said the coaches encourage players to "go 100 miles-per-hour on every play" in practice.

"We beat our competition because we do a lot of conditioning," he said. "They've been pushing us in practice, and we're just putting in the work to win these games."

Skinner's got another year of JC ball ahead of him, but he's also eyeing the broader goal of transferring to a four-year school to continue his football career. Right now, he's not sure whether that'll take him back to North Carolina or not.

"I was thinking about transferring to somewhere close to back home, but at this point I'm just going wherever God leads me," he said.

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