Pac-12: David Sills

RecruitingNation links: Pac-12 edition

March, 29, 2013
3/29/13
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DuckNation
From Brandon P. Oliver Insider: This week's mailbag takes a look at the Ducks' recruiting efforts in Oregon and Northern California.

HuskyNation
From Mason Kelley Insider: Jordan Paopao has become a full-time assistant with Washington and will play a key role in the team's recruiting efforts.

WeAreSC
From Garry Paskwietz: After the defense dominated on Tuesday, USC's offense bounced back nicely in Thursday night's practice.

From Johnny Curren Insider: Trying to project USC's depth chart through three weeks of spring practice.

More from Curren: One of the spring's most intense position battles is at linebacker between Anthony Sarao and Lamar Dawson.

From Blair Angulo Insider: This week's mailbag looks at 2015 QB commit David Sills, the impact of USC's early enrollees and more.
Recruiting is out of control.

Surely you heard the big news today. Kevin Gemmell, who is supposed to be sharing the Pac-12 blog with me going forward, has committed to Oregon -- for the class of 2017, reportedly because joining the Ducks seemed like a cool way to celebrate his 40th birthday.

And that paragraph is only slightly more fantastical and fatuous and phony than this recent uptick in middle schoolers committing to big-time programs.

The latest is this: Rising eighth grade quarterback Tate Martell of San Diego has "committed" to Washington.

And by "committed," we mean an exchange took place with all the depth and meaning of a pronouncement of affection from a Kardashian.

This really has nothing to do with a recent trend in recruiting. It has to do with a recent trend of attention grabs and a belief in the awesomeness of any sort of publicity.

Martell might end up at Washington. And he might end up at Eastern Washington. Or he might end up playing baseball. Or deciding he prefers theater. Or he may join the circus. Nothing he does in football this year matters. And, really, nothing he does until his junior season of high school matters.

The only way he gets a scholarship to play football at Washington is if he proves to be good enough when he is a mature high school player. And, along the way, he might decide he'd rather play for Michigan, Texas, Oregon State or Florida.

My point: Nothing in the universe of college football changed today. Martell is no closer to a football scholarship to Washington than he was yesterday, nor is he bound in any way to go to Washington.

I wrote the same when David Sills committed to USC as a 13-year-old in 2010. Utterly meaningless. I continue to believe the odds are remote that Sills will ever play quarterback at USC.

So why does this happen? The best answer is also the worst: Why not? Just because a gesture is meaningless doesn't mean it won't produce a momentary media tempest in a teapot.

The other answer is this: Steve Clarkson, prep quarterbacks guru, loves publicity. And he's the common denominator here. From the ESPN.com story:
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."

No, it hasn't. It matters not a whit what these guys look like now.

Steve Clarkson
Kevin ShepardHigh school QB guru Steve Clarkson has tutored Tate Martell and David Sills, very early commitments both.
Clarkson has the respect of many folks in football. His track record is strong tutoring quarterbacks. He's a proven commodity. But he's also a businessman. He knows this story sells him more than anything else. And, well, feel free to read into what Clarkson calls himself on his website: "Dream maker."

While many folks slap their foreheads over 13- and 14-year-olds "committing" to big-time college sports teams, there also are a number of, er, highly involved daddies and mommies who are looking at their cherished little sprout as he tosses a Nerf ball around the living room thinking, "I got to get me some Steve Clarkson!"

From Mitch Sherman's story:
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.

Let me tell you something without an iota of doubt: No, this is not the wave of the future. An annual blip? Sure. A trickle? OK. No wave here, though. Mostly because it makes no sense to conduct business this way. For one, so much can change in five years. For example, one of the reasons Martell liked Washington was that former quarterback Jake Locker was his favorite player. Well, what happens is Locker never pans out in the NFL? Will that thinking still hold for Martell?

So, you say, what do Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian get out of this? Ah, glad you asked. For one, they have nothing to lose. But recruiting is a spiderweb of intrigue. The public looks at one spot getting touched and don't take note of more notable vibrations elsewhere.

Kiffin, you might already have deduced, is crazy-smart like a fox in recruiting.

Guess who Sills just happens to be teammates and good buddies Insider with? Kenny Bigelow, the No. 2 defensive tackle in the country, who is committed to USC for the 2013 class, and Khaliel Rodgers, a four-star offensive guard who also is committed to USC in 2013. Now those are two meaningful commitments.

How connected are these three guys? When Red Lion Christian Academy in Bear, Del., decided to to become more of a school with a football team than a football team with a school, all three transferred Insider to Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy.

Some might counter that Kiffin didn't know about these two in 2010 when Sills committed. Fine. My response: Kiffin is crazy-smart like a fox in recruiting. Funny how this is working out so well for him, eh?

Yes, recruiting is out of control. It has been for some time. But the next wave isn't 13-year-olds committing. Something irrelevant can be quirky or even interesting and inspire some media rubbernecking, but it ultimately will fail to hold sway in a high-stakes game based on a real-live bottom line.

David Sills, 16, is growing up quickly

May, 29, 2012
5/29/12
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Pedro Moura/ESPNLA.com16-year-old quarterback David Sills committed to USC in February 2010 and plans on honoring that commitment when he gets to college in the fall of 2015. He's finishing his freshman year of high school.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — David Sills turns 16 today. He acts a lot older.

Sills is the prep quarterback who verbally committed to USC as a 13-year-old in February 2010, making news headlines nationwide as the youngest athlete to ever accept a college scholarship offer. Back then, he was known to college football fans as the baby-faced seventh-grade prodigy with floppy blonde hair and a puka shell necklace.

Now, the Delaware native is finishing up the ninth grade at Eastern Christian Academy in Elkton, Md. In person, he hardly resembles the kid he was pictured as not too long ago. Sills is tall – nearing 6-4 already – and remarkably filled out in his upper body. He’s well-spoken and very measured in tone.

Sills was in Santa Barbara over Memorial Day Weekend for a massive football camp put on by his private coach, famed QB guru Steve Clarkson. The camp and corresponding all-star games are held at the city college’s smallish football stadium, which looks out over the Pacific Ocean.

Both Clarkson and Sills admit that the pupil doesn’t need to be here – he’s the most hyped of any of the participants, by far -- but he’s gotten so used to coming to Clarkson’s camps over the last six years that his attendance wasn’t even a question. His parents and siblings drop him off at the field in the morning each day and then go shopping on State Street until the afternoon.

Southern California is a second home to Sills by now. He’s been to L.A. and its surrounding areas too many times to count since he started working with Clarkson in the summer of 2006. He acts like a native.

“He will do well in Los Angeles, let’s put it that way,” says Clarkson. “He’ll have no problem getting along there.

“His personality lends itself to it.”

Sills has a little Hollywood in him. To call him the football version of pop star Justin Bieber wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

“I really don’t feel like I’m that different,” Sills said. “I’m the same kid. I do the same things. I get treated the same way.

“There’s nothing different, besides the publicity and stuff.”

(Read full post)

WeAreSC Wednesday links: More recruiting

April, 18, 2012
4/18/12
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Erik McKinney writes Insider: Elkton, Md., teammates Kenny Bigelow and David Sills attended Saturday's spring game and were able to get a glimpse at their futures with USC.

Garry Paskwietz writes: Spring football is over at USC. Here are a few lessons learned from the Trojans.

Paskwietz writes Insider: USC is being very selective in its WR offers, as multiple in-state wideouts in the ESPN 150 haven't been offered yet.

Paskwietz writes Insider: USC defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron is eager to reload the Trojans defensive line in the 2013 recruiting class.

Paskwietz writes Insider: With running back numbers down, USC is looking everywhere it can for tailbacks.

WeAreSC Tuesday links: The circuit begins

March, 20, 2012
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Erik McKinney writes Insider: Several big recruiting events are about to turn up the heat in California, and USC will be keeping a close eye on its commits and targets.

Garry Paskwietz writes: After taking a week off for spring break, the USC football team will resume its spring ball practice sessions Tuesday afternoon.

Erik McKinney writes Insider: 2013 commit Kenny Bigelow and 2015 commit David Sills have moved from Bear (Del.) Red Lion Christian Academy to Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy after the Red Lion coaching staff was removed.

Erik McKinney writes Insider: Scottsdale, Ariz., guard Larry Lewis decommitted from the Trojans on Monday, becoming the second commit from Arizona to back away from their commitment to USC.

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