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'Bigger than ball': Boise State's JL Skinner misses Senior Bowl to support family

Boise State standout safety JL Skinner did not play in the Reese's Senior Bowl on Saturday after his aunt passed away this week. Skinner went home to support family.

BOISE, Idaho — Boise State standout safety and 2023 NFL Draft prospect JL Skinner did not play in the Reese's Senior Bowl on Saturday after his aunt passed away earlier this week. 

Skinner competed in practices this week in Mobile, Alabama, with a heavy heart. KTVB Sports Director Jay Tust learned Skinner's family attempted to keep the news from him, but he ended up finding out. 

After hearing of his aunt's passing, Skinner felt like he needed to be with his family and returned home. 

In a pair of Twitter posts Saturday afternoon, Skinner and his mother both said "some things bigger than ball," and "there is more to life than football."

"If anyone knows my son – he will be there for his family," Skinner's mother said

KTVB wishes our condolences to Skinner and his family. 

The longtime Boise State star thrived in Senior Bowl practices this week, turning heads with his length, nose for the football and hard-hitting mentality. 

On Friday, the All-Mountain West safety was voted as the National team's defensive specialist of the week. The awards were determined by a vote from Skinner's peers in the wide receiver and tight end groups.

While missing the all-star game is disappointing, Skinner's impressive performances and resume from Boise State has earned him other opportunities to get in front of NFL scouts. 

In addition to thriving in Mobile this week, Skinner also landed an invite to the 2023 NFL Combine. He will get to showcase his talent again from Feb. 28 to March 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Boise State's Pro Day is also set for March 27. 

Skinner is the first Boise State safety to receive a NFL Combine invite since Darian Thompson in 2016. 

He finished the 2022 season with four interceptions, four pass breakups and 65 total tackles. A year prior, Skinner landed on the all-conference second team after leading the Broncos with 92 total tackles, including seven tackles for loss.

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