USC may be losing a commitment from a quarterback recruit it has held since February 10, 2010.
Gerald Martinez, of Scout.com, tweeted the following Tuesday morning:
Hearing some chatter today that Elkton (Md.) four-star quarterback David Sills maybe officially de-committing from #USC soon. #UWV leads.
Sills, you may recall, is the quarterback who has been committed to the Trojans since the seventh grade, when Lane Kiffin thought it was a bright idea to offer him a scholarship and accepted his commitment at the time.
This may be framed as a player choosing to head elsewhere, but it would not surprise me if USC and new coach Steve Sarkisian were not planning to sign Sills.
I recently saw Sills at a camp. I spoke with a source as I was walking over to the quarterback group, and asked the source if there were any "big-time kids" in it. He told me no. As I observed the group for myself, I realized that was only partially true. Indeed, there were no big-time prospects in the group, but there was one committed to a big-time program; Sills. He did not show a big arm or advanced polish, and in no way looked like a USC-caliber recruit. Having seen several hundred quarterbacks this year, I would not have Sills in my top-30 nationally.
At USC, Sills would have been facing the prospect of competing against five-star QB recruit Ricky Town. At West Virginia -- where the report suggests he will attend -- Sills will have a much better shot to compete for the job, as West Virginia brings in only around seven percent blue-chip recruits annually.
Ultimately, USC got a great deal out of its courtship of Sills. Two elite line recruits in Kenny Bigelow and Kahlil Rogers, are both former teammates of Sills.
The Sills story should serve as a cautionary tale about schools offering recruits too early. Getting on prospects early is a good thing, and there is pressure to be the first school to identify talent and develop a relationship with the talent, but a balance must be struck.
And in determining that balance, one thing must be considered: puberty. How big is the prospect? How big are his hands, his wingspan, his shoulders and his feet, all indicators of potential future growth? It's one thing for LSU to accept the commitment of Dylan Moses four years before he'll play college football because the 6'2, 220-pound Moses was, with very little additional work, physically ready to play college football. He is the rare exception to the rule.
And that's to say nothing of mental maturity, which almost no seventh or eighth-grader will possess. That's why I cringe when parents send me items about their 12-year-old "finally" being noticed:
There is a 12 year old phenom quarterback that has better mecanics (sic) than many NCAA quarterbacks and he is finally getting noticed. UMass contacted Daron Bryden and invotes (sic) the 12 year phenom to their camp, and boy did he impress.
On tape, the kid looks tiny, and no school should have serious interest in him until they can start to peg how big he will actually end up. The idea that a 12-year-old is "finally" being noticed shows that the evaluation process might be pushing a bit too young.