David Sills

Get your creep on: 14-year-old QB phenom talks USC offer

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Ever-lovable USC head coach Lane Kiffin made headlines — and by “made headlines” we mean “caused sane people to throw up a little bit in their mouths” — early last year when he extended a scholarship offer to 13-year-old quarterback phenom David Sills, who promptly gave his “verbal commitment” to the Trojans — for the Class of 2015.

Now that Sills is merely four years away from being allowed to legally vote, it’s of course the logical next step in the process for him to appear on an ESPN radio program for an interview.  So he did.

During the course of the interview on ESPN Los Angeles, the eighth grader, who hails from the state of Delaware, addressed concerns some have that this may be too much too soon.  Or that Chris Hansen should be involved in the recruiting process.

“There is definitely no thought from me that it is,” the kid said. “I’m just trying to get ahead so that when I do go to USC, I’m prepared for USC and prepared for whatever comes at me. So it’s just an early start for me, and I think it’s a full advantage for me, and I think my parents and my whole family like it as well.”

Sills talked about what is was like to be on the receiving end of a dream offer from Kiffin — “I mean, that was my dream my whole life — to go to USC and play football” — and also discussed something that’s a near-daily occurrence for most strapping young men his age in this great country of ours.

“Well yesterday I went to the quarterback meetings and I was with all the quarterbacks,” Sills said matter-of-factly. “And they treated me like I was one of the quarterbacks, I wasn’t any different. It was cool being in there.

“They went through things like they were on the field; they were calling cadences like they were on the field. It was just cool when they were going over and protections being like ‘wow, this is going to be me when I get older and can go to USC.’ And then we went and watched their practice and it was really cool. It was just really cool watching all the players do their positions.”

(Before you ask, it is entirely permissible for Sills to attend QB meetings as the NCAA does not consider a football player a potential recruit until he reaches the ninth grade.)

(Excuse me for a second: Hey, NCAA, pull down your skirt; your loophole is showing.)

Somewhat surprisingly, and with major kudos to the host of the show, the elephant-sized question in the room was addressed.

If he knows if it’s a possibility that he’d not have the same offer by a different head coach other than Kiffin:

“Well I’ll always love USC. And I think Coach Kiffin is a great coach, so I think he’ll be there when I get there in five years.”

But can some coach other than Kiffin potentially rescind on the offer?

“I guess so. I’m not quite sure.”

This is where the whole creep-tastic situation could potentially spiral into ugliness and disappointment for the young man.

Of course there’s a chance that Kiffin won’t be with the Trojans in 2015, and his successor will be well within his rights to pull the offer if he so desires.  Of course there’s a chance that, even if Kiffin is still with the Trojans when 2015 rolls around, he decides to rescind the offer.  Hell, National Signing Day 2015 is nearly four years away; anything can happen between now and then.

By most media accounts, Sills is a very accomplished quarterback for someone his age and has a ton of potential.  Hopefully, the kid realizes his dream of suiting up for the Trojans upon graduation and goes on to a long and prosperous collegiate career.

If he doesn’t?  Don’t blame Kiffin or the school or anything else along those lines.  If this grand plan doesn’t come to fruition, place the blame squarely where it belongs — with the parents and with the NCAA.

And, if Sills reneges on his verbal?  Just chalk it up to Lady Karma comin’ a callin’ on Coach Kiffin.

Temple adds recent NFL assistant, long-time college coach

MIAMI - 2009:  George DeLeone of the Miami Dolphins poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by NFL Photos)
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With the Cleveland Browns (again) changing regimes, George DeLeone found himself on the outside of the coaching profession looking in.  A couple of weeks later, DeLeone is back on the inside, and in a familiar locale at that.

While the school has yet to officially confirm it, the Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that DeLeone has been added to Matt Rhule‘s coaching staff at Temple.  Bruce Feldman of FOXSports.com subsequently confirmed the report.

According to both outlets, DeLeone will serve as the Owls’ running-game coordinator.

The past two seasons, DeLeone worked as an assistant line coach with the Browns.  Prior to that, however, the vast majority of his 46-year coaching career had been spent at the collegiate level.  And a sizable chunk of that time was spent in the Northeast.

DeLeone’s first FBS job came at Rutgers from 1980-83.  Two different stints at Syracuse (1985-96, 1998-2004) were sandwiched between his the job at the NFL level with the Miami Dolphins (1997).  Temple was his home from 2006-07, and then UConn from 2011-13 before the Browns called.

Demoted by BC, Todd Fitch takes over as LaTech’s OC

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 19:  Head coach Skip Holtz of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs objects to a call during the first half of the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 19, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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A promotion in 2015 was quickly followed by a demotion a year later for Todd Fitch.  Not long after the latter went down, Fitch left town for a fresh start to his coaching career.

Friday, Skip Holtz announced that Fitch has been hired as his offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech.  Additionally, Fitch will serve as the wide receivers coach for the Bulldogs.

Fitch had spent the past three seasons at Boston College, first as receivers coach and passing-game coordinator in 2013-14 before being promoted to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2015.  However, BC head coach Steve Addazio announced in mid-January that he had hired Scott Loeffler as his coordinator, effectively demoting Fitch back to receivers coach.

Three weeks later, Fitch headed south.

“I am excited to be joining a staff that is part of growing something special,” Fitch said. “This coaching staff has laid the groundwork for a program that has already done some great things and is building a foundation for future success. I am excited for the opportunity to be on a staff with Skip Holtz again and to keep growing this program.”

In addition to BC, Fitch had also been a coordinator at East Carolina and USF. Holtz was the head coach at both of those stops.

San Jose State QB Malik Watson latest to take grad transfer route

SAN JOSE, CA - NOVEMBER 29:  The San Jose State Spartans marching band plays their fight song against the Fresno State Bulldogs in the second quarter on November 29, 2013 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, California.  The Spartans won 62-52.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a college football player has decided to ply his final season of college football wares elsewhere.

The latest to take that tack is Malik Watson, who announced via Twitter that he has “decided that I will not be returning to San Jose State for my senior and will be seeking elsewhere to pursue my dream.”  As Watson will graduate from SJSU this May, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2016 if he lands at another FBS school and enrolls in a grad program not offered at his former school.

Watson added that, as he awaits a new destination, he “will continue to train with my private QB coach in this meantime.”

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A California high school product who was born in Hawaii, Watson transferred from the junior college ranks to SJSU in 2014. After redshirting that first year, the 6-3, 208-pound Watson played in two games as the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart.

In that time, Watson completed 9-of-15 passes for 59 yards and an interception. Of the 15 attempts, 14 came in the Week 3 loss to Oregon State.

Illini grad transfer T.J. Neal to visit WVU, Auburn

LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMPER 27: Linebacker T.J. Neal #52 of the Illinois Fighting Illini arches of running back Ameer Abdullah #8 of the Nebraska Cornhuskersduring their game at Memorial Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Lincoln, Nebraska.  (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
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T.J. Neal does not yet know where he will continue his collegiate career, but it appears the linebacker has significantly narrowed the field.

A little less than two weeks ago, Neal, after being told by the coaching staff that they were planning to move him from middle to strongside linebacker, decided to transfer out of the Illinois football program.  As he will be a graduate transfer upon earning his degree in May, Neal will be eligible to play at another FBS program in 2016.

Enter West Virginia and Auburn, two teams which have been in contact with Neal and vice versa.  According to al.com, Neal will visit Morgantown this coming Monday, then head to The Plains a week later.

Upon the announcement of an impending departure, Illini head coach Bill Cubit said the Pennsylvania native “was talking about playing closer to home.”  Even as a move to Auburn would be the exact opposite of that, Neal seems genuinely excited over the prospects.

“Being able to play down there in Alabama, it’s like a dream come true,” Neal told Brandon Marcello of al.com. “From my high school, I never thought I’d play at a big-time school like Auburn. To have a chance now, it’s exciting to play against some of the top players in the country.”

According to blueandgoldsports.com, Penn State and Pittsburgh are/were also in play. It’s unclear if he’s visited or plans to visit those schools in his home state, although it was originally thought that the Nittany Lions could be high on Neal’s to-do list.

Not only is Neal a native of McKeesport, Pa., but Tim Banks, the Illini’s co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach the past four seasons, left in December to become the Nittany Lions’ coordinator.  PSU has also seen a pair of linebackers, Troy Reeder and Gary Wooten Jr., transfer out this month, meaning the opportunity for a starting job would certainly be on the table.

Regardless, Neal expects to make a decision shortly after the Feb. 15 visit to Auburn. He would then enroll in his new school of choice shortly after his graduation from Illinois.

Neal was a two-year starter for the Illini who finished second on the team in tackles (109) this past season.  He was named honorable mention All-Big Ten for his play in 2015.