Strotty's Blog

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When Is Young Too Young? David Sills and Lane Kiffin Should Know

Apparently after Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators brought in one of the best recruiting classes ever for the 2010 season, Lane Kiffin tried to get the upper hand by starting his recruiting for the 2015 season.

Not a typo.

13-year-old David Sills from New Hampshire gave Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans his verbal commitment Thursday, marking the youngest known commitment in college football.

It’s also freakin’ nuts.

A little background on Sills will make the situation a tad bit more sane, but not to the point where this commitment is fathomable on any level. Sills is from Delaware and, from the looks of it, is a very matured 6’0″ tall quarterback with a rocket arm for his age. He has his own personal trainer in California who meets with Sills once every six weeks. That trainer, Steve Clarkson, claims that Sills has more potential than even current Trojan quarterback Matt Barkley, who Clarkson also mentored.

By default, many are now tagging him as the LeBron James or Bryce Harper of football. It’s a lot of pressure for a kid who still has recess and whose parents will be driving him to school for the next three years.

When does young become too young? When the kid is 13 years old. (Sports Illustrated).

The first and foremost issue is that nothing says this kid is going to be anything special. Granted, his learning curve, production, and potential are all off the charts for quarterbacks his age, and it’s safe to say he is the best quarterback for his age group in the country.

But who says Sills is going to mature into a top-level, Division I quarterback, which you need to be, by the time he gets to USC? His three-minute YouTube videos are fantastic and eye-popping when you consider he just became a teenager last year, but he won’t be enrolling in USC for five years. Five years. That leaves plenty of time for him to stop growing, stop progressing or pick up other interests. While the chances of that happening are slim, the odds are a lot better when a kid is 17 and not 13.

The next problem with the commitment is that no one knows what the future holds for USC five years from now. Not only is the program under fire for violations during the Reggie Bush era, but who says that Kiffin will be around five years from now? He claims Southern Cal is his dream job and he has a loaded class coming in, but what if the NFL comes calling or, on the other end of the spectrum, Kiffin flops and gets the ax before Sills even makes it to the Junior Prom? Then what?

The other side to the story is regarding Sills and his parents. From ESPN’s coverage of the commitment, they could not be more excited about the verbal commitment their son, fresh out of the D.A.R.E program, made. Sills claims USC is his dream school and his dad can not wait to meet Kiffin after speaking with him over the phone, but is this really the best thing for their child?

Potentially for the rest of his football playing days, and at the very least until he comes to USC, Sills will be under the microscope of everyone and anyone who follows college football. They have tossed their son into the spotlight and he hasn’t even stepped foot inside a high school.

On one hand, it makes sense that if the opportunity was there for Sills to commit to one of the best football programs and one of the best universities in the country, that he should do it. But if he is really a can’t miss prospect and USC is his dream school, why not relax and let the kid live his life? Sure, it’s what he wants to do and ultimately HE had to give the verbal commitment, but didn’t we all want to do things in seventh grade that now seem foolish?

The fact is, Sills should be worrying more about who he “like likes” and which experiment he wants to use for the science fair, not what to do when a team shifts from a Cover 2 to a Cover 4 on 3rd-and-long.


February 5, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,


  1. ” That leaves plenty of time for him to stop growing, stop progressing or pick up other interests. ”

    He is 6 feet tall already. He is 13 years old. Even if he never grows another inch, which is highly unlikely for someone his age, he will still have enough height to compete. His training with Steve Clarkson was believed to cost around $1,000 per session back in 2007. He will continue to progress, and believe me, with a verbal agreement to attend USC and the financial investment in his football skills, he will not pick up other interests that will interfere with anything of importance.

    In this kid’s case, five years just leaves more time to get better and more time for USC to keep waiting.

    The future at USC is uncertain, and that is one reason why if I were Sills, I wouldn’t have made the commitment (which is completely non-binding). But as much as I hate Lane Kiffin, props to him for essentially calling dibs on this kid for the future.

    Comment by AT | February 5, 2010 | Reply

    • Good points brought up here, but I’ll try to counter them a little. 6-feet tall barely gets it done in college, especially in a pro offense like USC (granted…he’s going to grow). And that’s kind of my point: he’s not going to be able to have any other interests because he could be Todd Marinovich Pt. II. He’s 13 years old. He should be worrying about why hair is starting to grow in places he didn’t think was possible, he should be waiting in line all night to pick up Madden 2010 (OK, I do that too), and he should be improving his game if that’s what he’s passionate about. But to this level? No.

      Comment by strotty | February 5, 2010 | Reply

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