Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Feb 2010

13-Year-Old Commits To USC

I understand when soccer teams with the ability to sign infinite young players snatch up prospects at this age, but with a finite number of scholarships available, offering a scholarship to a 13-year old quarterback seems impossibly speculative. Regardless, Lane Kiffin's locked up 13-year-old quarterback David Sills, from that football hotbed of Bear, Delaware.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 05 Feb 2010

39 comments, Last at 07 Feb 2010, 4:19pm by capt. Anonymous


by Eddo :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 12:53am

I thought for sure this would link to The Onion, but I guess not.

It seems like a really, really bad idea to offer a scholarship to a 13-year-old. How can you know with any amount of certainty if a kid that has not fully matured will turn into a good quarterback prospect? And if he has fully matured, doesn't that raise a red flag that he might be peaking too young?

by Bobman :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 12:58am

How is this not a recruiting violation? Isn't there some rule about puberty being a prerequisite? Or at least taking the PSATs? Or knowing what the letters stand for?

Two years ago our local lowest level tackle team (8-9 year olds) had a 1,000 yard rusher (8 game season) who also went to the junior nationals for track.... I'll have to ask his dad next fall if he's gotten any offers yet, and if not, why.

by johnmartinolive... :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 1:24am

It's probably not a committable offer. They can theoretically offer as many of those as they want. Teams offer way more guys than they can actually take each year.

by Tom Gower :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 1:32am

It's the second year in a row Lane Kiffin had gotten a commitment from a 13 year old. There's nothing binding on either side here, move along and ignore all the nonsense.

by Mike Y :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 1:34am

Haha, that doesn't sound quite right. ;)

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 10:21am

I understand that this is not binding, and that it's mostly just for laughs, but doesn't this say something about the way Kiffin chooses to spend his time? Is there really any value at all in scouting and recruiting 7th graders? Why does he even do this at all?

by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 7:50pm

It's the second year in a row Lane Kiffin had gotten a commitment from a 13 year old.

Updated Score: Lane Kiffen 2, Jerry Lee Lewis 1.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 7:00am

The highlights on Youtube are fairly impressive, but then again, they are highlights - presumably put together by his coach. Nice touch, quick release. A few comments there from people who claim to have seen him play suggest that he doesn't deal with pressure too well, but that seems like something that can probably be learned between 13 and 23.

I guess the question is, does he love playing football more than anything else, or is this just his father's obsession? And if he does, will he still once girls, booze and (potentially) drugs become available?

And yes, this does appear to be utterly meaningless on both sides.

by Ben Stuplisberger :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 12:36pm

I was impressed by them using DJ Shadow as the backing track for the youtube video.


The kid looks a lot older than 13.

by strannix (not verified) :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 1:57pm

He's 13, not 5. Girls, booze, and drugs are already available.

by tuluse :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 8:41pm

13 year old girls, and limited access to drugs and booze.

Unless you are implying a 13 year old has the same temptations as a 18 year old who just moved out of his parents house.

by Travis :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 8:31am

From the article:

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.

by Temo :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 11:54am

I understand what you're saying that Clausen is no LeBron. But he's still a damn good QB.

by Travis :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 12:09pm

A good QB, but way too far from "the next LeBron" to be proud of the prediction. It wasn't like Clausen was some unknown prospect before going to Notre Dame, or that he succeeded immediately there.

by Temo :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 5:21pm

Yea, Clarkson is the epitome of the shameless self-promoting jackass.

by Joe T. :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 10:12am

Probably not binding, but this has Todd Marinovich written all over it.

by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 10:22am

Yet more evidence of the "glory" of big time college football.

by Phil Osopher :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 12:09pm

So, is Kiffin going to give the kid that USC money? Cuz a new ipod, a new scooter, a new chain to woo the ladies would all be sweet.

Or maybe he will get himself a login id for ESPN insider and be able to read about himself.

USC pays better than Ohio State, thus you sign for the highest contract. Simple economics there

by matt millen's brain (not verified) :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 9:55pm

I wonder if Lane's closing pitch involved a night with Layla.

by Theo :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 1:18pm

Why not?

He's not from Nigeria, so he's probably really 13.
Of course, this is over-marketing. Hyping someone who shouldn't be hyped with youtube videos and college commitments, but it's the reality. Like it or not, it is.

by njjetfan12 :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 1:54pm

Is it just me, or are his linemen massive for a kid playing middle school football?


by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 2:10pm

Pretty much everyone there looks awfully big for that. The story says that he's six feet tall, and yet he appears to be the among the shortest players on the team.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 3:03pm

I hope you're not implying that something untoward could be going on at Danny Almonte Junior High.

by Theo :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 3:47pm

...and the defenders awfully bad.
I we'll see in about 5 years from now what this story's worth.

by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 7:46pm

Nope, both you and they are massive for middle-schoolers.

by NRG :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 4:53pm

His next signing will be a particularly promising embryo with a big armbud and speed to burn.

by Temo :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 5:52pm

In a shocking developments, Lane Kiffin has lost his latest 5-star recruit to a third-trimester abortion.

by roguerouge :: Fri, 02/05/2010 - 7:10pm

This explains why CBS accepted that pro life ad for the Super Bowl.

by JasonG (not verified) :: Sat, 02/06/2010 - 3:35am

If this father (or mother) was a Marinovich Sr type, which he doesn't appear to be, I might have an opinion/concern about this and even then I still would keep my opinion to myself as opposed to half the nation that seems to be burying this father.

Either way, the drivers here seem to be genuine. The kid loves football and happens to be damn good at it. He also happened to have this connection to USC through Clarkson. Apparently his talent, despite his age, was enough to win over USC/Kiffin. The family talked and decided to verbally commit.

Everyone outside the situation should STFU. You have a right to your opinion, but you also have the right, which know one in this world seems to exercise anymore, to keep it to your damn self. Who is anybody in this society to tell these parents or this kid that he can't or shouldn't do this? Even as a USC and Kiffin hater, there's no way I could argue against the fact that this is a fantastic opportunity and he and his family should be allowed to decide in peace. Damn this society is pissing me off.

Even if he's the most gifted 13-year-old QB who ever lived, his odds are still long that 5+ he's still going to be at the top of the QB heap. Yes, the spotlight at this age could be his undoing. You know what else? It could be a positive. Maybe this 15 minutes prepares him for when he actually gets to play under the lights. Maybe it focuses him instead of distracts him. Nobody knows and it's really not anybody's place. Teenagers become pro tennis players and golfers. Young teens earn their ways into college classes. Movie star kids deal with this much fame and more. The family feels they can handle this. That should be the end of the story.

Congrats to this kid and his family. Raise your children as you deem appropriate in peace. Ignore the masses who think they are entitled to interject their morals into your family even though they don't know a damn thing about you. Everyone else, do the world a favor, shut up and tend to your own damn lives.

by Jerry :: Sat, 02/06/2010 - 5:12am

Are you inside the situation? If not, why aren't you keeping your opinion to your damn self?

by JasonG (not verified) :: Sat, 02/06/2010 - 2:29pm

What a stupid comment.

I'm not on ESPN spouting off on how this guy is a bad father or he's going to ruin his kid. I'm not calling into GMA doing the same. I'm offering congrats without forcing my parenting opinions and morals on him. My strongest opinion is directed at the masses sticking their noses into somebody else's family. Live and let live people.

by jebmak :: Sat, 02/06/2010 - 8:40pm

What a stupid comment.

Telling people to STFU about an issue and then posting far more than anyone else has on that issue.

by JasonG (not verified) :: Sat, 02/06/2010 - 2:47pm

What a stupid comment.

I'm not on ESPN spouting off on how this guy is a bad father or he's going to ruin his kid. I'm not calling into GMA doing the same. I'm offering congrats without forcing my parenting opinions and morals on him. My strongest opinion is directed at the masses sticking their noses into somebody else's family. Live and let live people.

by jimmy oz (not verified) :: Sun, 02/07/2010 - 1:02pm

shut up idiot. no one here is moralising, except you. so you don't like the ESPN or GMA messages? Go there to complain.

by Purds :: Sat, 02/06/2010 - 1:16pm

Was I the only one to notice that the kid started seeing a private QB coach in 4th grade? Really?
There's got to be a pretty good chance of burnout when you start with the private coaches at age 9. That means when he walks onto a college campus, he's right about at the end of his first DECADE of being tutored in one sport.

by G-man (not verified) :: Sat, 02/06/2010 - 6:44pm

The real question is, will he take enough snaps under center in a pro-style offense to be a good NFL candidate? Those videos make me afraid the answer is already no.

by masoch (not verified) :: Sat, 02/06/2010 - 7:39pm

From Steve Clarkson's Website video:

"Internationally Acclaimed as the World's Greatest Quartback Coach"

Really? So... ummm... I'd be curious to see which countries have chimed in on this? If I get an endorsement from the Nigerians saying I'm the "Greatests Restauranteur EVAR!!1!" can I update my resume accordingly?

(Right after I cash my check for 40.000.000 dollars that Uncle left me?)

by capt. Anonymous (not verified) :: Sun, 02/07/2010 - 4:18pm

Clausen was similarly hyped. So was Leak. One turned out pretty well. One not so much

by capt. Anonymous (not verified) :: Sun, 02/07/2010 - 4:19pm

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if Clarkson was none other than our very own C