The post-apocalypse commitment of 13-year old David Sills
But what happens if the target year comes and goes, becoming just another apocalyptic date in history that passes without prophesied destruction? David Sills would then be fifteen, with a 2-year old scholarship offer, and still having a three year wait to make good on his original promise. Cradle robbing?—Maybe. But it certainly is not a first.
This is big news on a day not offering much in the way of college sports. And it incites talk-show frenzy, because Lane Kiffin is the coach offering, and USC (allegedly) is the institution serving. When you take two objects currently placed under the media microscope, any and all actions will be magnified to project ten times larger than the actual size.—Get it?
The practice of recruiting the middle schools is more common in basketball, and it was just two years ago that eighth grader Michael Avery gave a verbal commitment to Billy Gillispie and Kentucky. A little closer to home, a former USC hoops coach was certainly no stranger to the playground tactic. In 2006, Tim Floyd offered a scholarship to 14-year old Dwayne Polee Jr. The coach struck again in 2007, offering another, and this time to 14-year old Ryan Boatwright of Illinois. Both teenagers verbally committed to USC, and both have yet to be heard from again.
A year ago, Lane Kiffin made headlines (not nearly as big as the recent) for offering a scholarship to Evan Berry, who is the 14-year old younger brother of All American Safety Eric Berry. Coming from “all-eyes-on-me” Lane Kiffin, the pointing began, as if it were never seen or heard of before. But before Chris Leak gained his notoriety for leading Florida to their first national championship under Urban Meyer, it was Wake Forest that offered a 14-year old Leak his first scholarship. While coaching in Washington, Ty Willingham served one up to 14-year old quarterback Kasen Williams. And let’s not forget that Freddy Adu signed a professional soccer contract at the age of fourteen, bypassing the high school and college game completely. Adu’s first contract offer came at the tender age of 10.
Today’s recruiting differs from that of twenty years ago. Nowadays, you’ll find parents hiring sports agencies to promote the talents of their preadolescent sons and daughters. Private coaches and trainers will distribute packages of teenagers on film for athletic departments to view. The schools are no longer the initiators, as contact now comes from anywhere and everywhere, and from places and people that often go without notice. The NCAA places strict restrictions on how and when a prospect can be contacted by coaches, but there are no restrictions against prospects of any age initializing contact on their own.
A 13-year old is now the big man on his junior high school campus. But just as it is with any child that age, football may be the goal today, where skating on half-pipes could be the goal set for tomorrow. I’ve seen this kid on video, and he definitely possesses talent beyond his years. But if the Sills family knew anything at all, they would know of Kiffin’s track record, and the odds of the new coach staying put in one location for five years are very slim. Nonetheless, fight on, David—Fight On!