Image Credit: the Sills family
Sills, 13, commits to USC
10/28/2010 Lane Kiffin really is getting a jump on recruiting.
No sooner had the Trojans new coach put the finishing touches on the Class of 2010 recruits, that he turned his attention to the Class of 2015.
That's right, 2015.
Thursday evening Kiffin received a verbal commitment from 13-year old wunderkind quarterback David Sills of Bear, Del.
Not according to his personal coach Steve Clarkson, who has mentored some of the game's best quarterbacks including current USC starter Matt Barkley.
"His skill set is off the chart," Clarkson said. "I've never seen anyone at his age do what he's been able to do."
The commitment has happened in college basketball previously, but is unprecedented for college football where it's harder to project how a player as young as Sills will develop physically. Clarkson says that won't be a problem.
"He's already six feet as a 13-year old," Clarkson said. "And he's breaking down NFL footage."
Clarkson said the scholarship offer emerged after he called Kiffin to discuss a quarterback recruit for next year's class.
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Clarkson said Kiffin asked him his opinion of the recruit and Clarkson said, "You might call me crazy, but you've known me a long time, right? And when I said if there was going to be a LeBron James of football it'd be Jimmy Clausen that turned out to be a pretty good prediction.
"And when I said Matt Barkley had the potential to be as good as Jimmy, he ended up winning Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior and starting at USC as a freshman, right?
"Well, I've got a kid now who is better than all of them and he's in Delaware. You gotta take a look at him."
Clarkson then directed Kiffin to a video of Sills that is making the rounds on YouTube.
Kiffin watched it and called him back immediately.
"He was like, 'This kid is incredible. How old is he again?'
"I was like, 'That's the problem, he's 13.' "
A couple of hours later, the Sills family called Kiffin and they spoke for the first time. USC had always been Sills' dream school, according to his father, David Sills IV.
"I'm as shocked as anybody," Sills' father said. "I was just talking with friends yesterday about what it'll be like four years from now when David goes through the recruiting process. I never expected this to happen so soon.
"But David's always wanted to go to USC. I mean, is there a better place to play football in the country? How can you pass up the best offer you're ever going to get?"
The younger Sills, who is an seventh-grader at Red Lion Christian Academy in Bear, Del., has been training with Clarkson for three years. They meet about once every six weeks at various locations around the country. Sometimes in California, where Clarkson is based. Sometimes in Delaware. And sometimes somewhere in the middle, if Clarkson is conducting a clinic.
"Steve and David hit it off immediately," David Sills IV said. "If there's ever anything David is doing wrong, Steve can fix it in like 10 minutes."
Still, 2015 is a long time from now. A lot can change.
"Well, we're going to be out to California in a few weeks and we'll meet Lane then," Sills' father said. "We're excited to meet him. And we're excited to verbally commit. Hopefully it all works out in the future."
Ramona Shelburne is a reporter and columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com. ESPN's Shelley Smith contributed to this report.