David Sills

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


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.

Win over Grambling approved, Cal officially becomes bowl eligible

Jared Goff
Associated Press
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Earlier today we had the report that Cal, they of the normally bowl-eligible six wins on the season, were not actually bowl eligible. The hang up was due to some NCAA red tape on how many scholarships Grambling, a 73-14 victim to the Bears on opening Saturday, had actually awarded this year.

Why the number of scholarships awarded by an opponent of a 6-5 team could determine what glorified exhibition said 6-5 could or could not play is a matter for another time, but the fact is it mattered.

But according to a report from Kevin Gemmell of ESPN.com, the Bears received approval to count the win toward their total, meaning Sonny Dykes and company will go bowling for the first time since 2011.

“We have conferred with both Grambling and the NCAA,” Cal spokesman Wes Mallette told ESPN. “As anticipated, Grambling has confirmed their football program has met the 90 percent financial aid requirement over the rolling two-year average. Therefore, Cal football’s win over Grambling counts toward bowl eligibility. Cal football is bowl eligible.”

The Bears have a chance to become bowl eligible the old fashioned way with a win over Arizona State Saturday in Berkeley.


Tulane reportedly set to fire head coach Curtis Johnson

Curtis Johnson
Associated Press
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The end of the college football regular season brings with it bowl bids, conference championship entries and rivalry games. Along the way, though, come end-of-season firings. So many end of-season firings.

According to a report from Dan Wolken of USA Today Wednesday night, the first one is already on the books. Or at least close to it.

Wolken reports Tulane is set to part ways with head coach Curtis Johnson following the Green Wave’s Friday finale against Tulsa “barring a last-minute change of direction.”

Johnson is 15-33 in nearly four complete seasons at Tulane, reaching a high point of a 7-6 mark wtih a New Orleans Bowl appearance in 2013 but winning two, three and three games in his other three campaigns.

If and when the move becomes official, Tulane will become the 15th FBS school to change head coaches this season, matching the total number of changes during the 2014-15 cycle.

Wolken reports Tulane will hire a new athletics director within the next week, and once that hiring is complete the school will then embark on hiring Johnson’s replacement.

Reports: Michigan DC D.J. Durkin a “strong candidate” for Maryland vacancy

D.J. Durkin
Associated Press

Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin has emerged a “strong candidate” for the Maryland job, according to reports from Yahoo‘s Pat Forde and Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman Wednesday.

“Durkin, 37, met recently with Maryland officials, sources said,” Forde wrote. “No job offer was made, but the interview went well, sources said.”

Added Feldman:

Durkin is in his first season as Michigan’s defensive coordinator, helping the 9-2 Wolverines jump from 14th to third nationally in yards per play allowed (4.77 to 4.15) and 27th to sixth in scoring defense (22.4 to 14.9).

Prior to working on Jim Harbaugh‘s staff, Durkin served as Will Muschamp‘s defensive coordinator at Florida for two years, and as his special teams coordinator for two years before that. He previously worked at Stanford, Bowling Green (his alma mater) and Notre Dame.

Should he be offered and accept the job, Durkin would immediately become Big Ten East rivals with his mentor Harbaugh.

“This week is so important to our guys, my 100% focus is on this game and our players — that’s what this profession is all about. You’ve got to make sure you’re taking care of the job you have week in and week out. It’s a tough task, especially with this team we have this week,” Durkin told the Detroit Free Press when asked about the reports.

“My goal is to get the best game plan possible together for Ohio State and have our guys go play well. To answer rumors or speculation right now and put something to it, my total focus is 100% on Ohio State and nothing else.”

Illini to decide on fate of interim head coach Bill Cubit by Sunday

Bill Cubit
Associated Press

Illinois will decide whether or not to retain interim head coach Bill Cubit for the full-time job by Sunday, interim AD Paul Kowalczyk told WSKJ-FM Wednesday.

“We need to make that call and figure out which way we’re going for everyone’s sake,” Kowalczyk said, via the Chicago Tribune. “For me, it’s posthaste.”

Illinois closes its regular season Saturday against No. 16 Northwestern in Champaign. The Illini are 5-6 on the year and, for what it’s worth, Cubit desperately wants the job.

Also worth noting: the athletics department is operating under a total state of dysfunction in the wake of AD Mike Thomas‘s firing.

From 670 The Score in Chicago on Wednesday:

Sources tell 670 The Score that as overwhelmed university officials are dithering and providing little guidance, the group of trustees, boosters and alums left to run things can’t yet agree on much.  Some want to hire a search firm with a spotty recent track record, others want to form their own search committee, while another faction thinks they need to act faster by using their own contacts to target specific AD and coaching candidates right now and just get moving.

Any support for retaining Bill Cubit is getting strong push-back from those who don’t believe he wasn’t aware of Tim Beckman’s aberrant behavior, and from some who feel strongly about making a more dynamic hire.

For those keeping score at home: Illinois is dealing with a power vacuum of trustees, boosters and alums battling for control while an interim chancellor and interim athletics director work to reach a resolution on an interim football coach.

And the coaching carousel starts spinning in full four days from now.