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While the early commitment certainly caught most of the college football world off guard, Clarkson said plenty of thought went into it from Martell and his family. The 14-year-old is close with Sills, who made a commitment to USC as he was entering the eighth grade.
"The family followed that situation," Clarkson said. "He's seen how that unfolded. But that's kind of the trend. The landscape has changed."
|High school QB guru Steve Clarkson has tutored Tate Martell and David Sills, very early commitments both.|
According to Clarkson, it's the wave of the future. Athletes are more specialized today, often spending three times as many hours per year on football than the players of a generation ago. They ought to be ready to make such decisions much earlier, he said.
"The next time a sixth- or seventh-grader commits," Clarkson said, "you've already been doused with the frozen water, so the shock is gone."
Clarkson said programs like his, which identify and groom quarterbacks barely into their teens, are growing in prominence as high school football loses some of its power in recruiting.