Lane Kiffin and USC have done it again.
According to this article by ESPN, Kiffin recently received a verbal commitment from David Sills, perhaps the top quarterback in his class.
If you believe top quarterback coach Steve Clarkson, Sills has the potential to be a megastar in college and the professional level.
He can break down NFL game film.
He's already more physically mature than his peers.
He has a cannon of an arm.
He's still in the seventh grade.
That's right. Lane Kiffin just received a verbal commitment from a 13-year-old kid who wouldn't even be eligible until 2015.
Now, I'm not naive. I know college coaches are supposed to go out and get the best talent they can possibly find. But could you at least wait until the kid plays a high school game before you offer him a scholarship?
Am I the only one even remotely bothered by the fact that a college is looking that seriously at a middle-schooler? Or that said middle-schooler already has a personal coach and is spending time breaking down film the pros watch? Seventh graders should be playing the game for fun, not preparing to play pro ball.
The current college recruiting scene is absurd as is. The five-star recruit of today can lead you to a championship. Or he could end up playing special teams for his whole career. You just don't know how a kid is going to develop from high school to college, let alone from middle school to college.
When hearing about Sillis, I couldn't help but think about Todd Marinovich, who was a quarterback at USC from 1988-1990.
For those of you not familiar with the story, Todd's dad, Marv, had his son in training to be a superstar practically from birth. Todd had a special diet, an army of coaches and specialists and no way to cope to with the enormous expectations placed on him. Marinovich's professional career derailed as he turned to drugs to deal with it all.
I'm not saying Sills is going to fail. I hope he doesn't. But I do wish the adults in his life and coach Kiffin would let him be a kid.
Sills obviously has talent. But does he really need all the stress and scrutiny that will come with his commitment FIVE YEARS before he even steps foot on campus?
It's bad enough high school football has turned into a virtual meat market, complete with websites that seemingly analyze teenagers' every move and rate them like a consumer product. Does a middle-schooler deserve that type of attention?