Editorial: Whatever happened to David Sills?
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
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,
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: nocoastbias.com; David Sills throws the ball
around during his junior high days.