Editorial: Whatever happened to David Sills?

By EFN Staff
Published: 02/04/2015

For the Mountaineers’ fan base figuring out where quarterback David Sills would play his college ball was a no-brainer come National Signing Day, he had already enrolled at West Virginia matriculating onto the campus Jan. 12. But on Wednesday Sills’ officially became a Mountaineer signing his Letter of Intent to play for WVU ending one of the longest college football recruiting processes ever.

Sills’ story is of bigger interest and of a potentially bigger problem in college football recruiting. In 2010, as a seventh-grader, he verbally committed to USC when Lane Kiffin was the head coach. When Kiffin extended the offer the world of college and high school football laughed at the action with many wondered just how out of hand had the recruiting process become.

Kiffin liking Sills so early in the process presents several potential problems but to the current Alabama offensive coordinator’s credit, the kid panned out. The Elkton, Maryland area talent had eight scholarship offers, including USC’s, getting looks from Michigan, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Maryland, and Hawaii. Curiously the Crimson Tide did not offer Sills.

The 6’3”, 200 pound, Eastern Christian Academy star decommitted from USC in June of 2014 later committing to WVU in mid-July. Sills did get an unofficial visit to the Tuscaloosa campus during a June camp but that was that for Sills and Kiffin.

Many coaches, and fans alike, are hoping some greater restrictions are put in place limiting the earliest time a college coach can contact a potential recruit and extend and offer to any player. Should the offer at least be extended to a player at the varsity high school level? Would less pressure be placed on high school student athletes if the earliest contact is made is after the player’s junior season?

What benefits are extended to a high school recruit committed to a college program during their sophomore season? Does the national spotlight hinder or help? Arguments can be made for either side with both having their merits.

Time will tell if the NCAA, with a push from Division-I coaches, will put forth new recruiting guidelines that are of the interest of the kids not of the interest of the adults.

Luckily Sills situation worked out. He’s earned a college football scholarship becoming a success story, as is any high school player earning a scholarship in any sport at any classification. But what would have happened if Sills never made it to college? Would the novelty of offering a junior high kid a scholarship to play football at a Power Five Conference sway public opinion? What if the weight of the offer had been too much? Will a tragic end to a ninth-grader with an offer to a Big Ten school have to happen before a change in recruiting rules are needed?

Photo credit:; David Sills throws the ball around during his junior high days.